Chair man Max just 'phenomenal', says Red Bull boss Horner

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That's our boy: Max Verstappen celebrates with his team
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Delighted team boss Christian Horner described Max Verstappen's pole lap for Red Bull at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Saturday as a "phenomenal performance".

The Dutchman grabbed his first pole of the season and third of his career by beating both Mercedes, finishing 0.025 seconds ahead of Valtteri Bottas and 0.086 clear of seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton.

Verstappen was almost surprised at his achievement having, on Thursday, picked up the 'third man chair' and taken it with him from a pre-race news conference because, he said, it had become "my chair" this year.

A laughing Horner said: "So many times this year we've sat in that third-place seat! Max actually took it home with him at the press conference on Thursday, but he's just strung together a brilliant lap at the end there today.

"It's so tight -- less than a tenth between the top three cars. He was gutted to miss out last week and to put that lap together, to get that pole, was a phenomenal performance."

Last weekend, the Dutch racer was taken out of the Sakhir Grand Prix in a first lap crash.

"You know you can bank on him and you know he's going to give it everything. You know that he can always surprise you and he's done that today going into that qualifying."

Horner added that Verstappen's pole performance was an important success for the team.

"I think for the team, who have just worked so hard to keep improving this car, I think for Honda as well and for Max who has just been mighty this year -- he has dragged every ounce of performance out of the car - to get this pole at the last race is important.

"Now we have to convert it into a great result."

Red Bull have won just once this season, with Verstappen, at the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix at Silverstone in August.

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