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Horner - grid haggling with FIA "like being down a souk"

Horner - grid haggling with FIA "like being down a souk"

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Horner - grid haggling with FIA "like being down a souk"

Horner - grid haggling with FIA "like being down a souk"

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner claims the haggling that went on with FIA race director Michael Masi during the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix was akin to "being down a souk".

Following a second red flag for a crash involving Red Bull's Sergio Perez and Charles Leclerc in his Ferrari, and subsequently Williams' George Russell and Nikita Mazepin for Haas, Masi then became embroiled in negotiations over restart grid positions with Red Bull and Mercedes sporting directors Jonathan Wheatley and Ron Meadows.

It followed an incident at turn one at the first restart where Max Verstappen reclaimed the lead from Lewis Hamilton by cutting the corner after the Mercedes driver had got a flier off the line.

As Hamilton took action to avoid a potential collision, he was passed by Alpine driver Esteban Ocon out of turn two, shortly after which the red flag was thrown due to what later unfolded behind the leading trio.

During the hiatus, while the track was cleared, bartering effectively unfolded as to where the cars should line up for the second restart, with Masi making offers to both Wheatley and Meadows.

A compromise was eventually reached, leading to Ocon on pole followed by Hamilton and Verstappen.

Reflecting on what unfolded, Horner said: "It was a bit like being down a souk, which is unusual. I haven't come across that previously.

"Obviously, we voiced our own argument. I'm sure Mercedes voiced theirs. It was just very frustrating."

Overall, Horner expressed disappointment with the decisions taken during the race, with Verstappen handed a five-second time penalty for forcing Hamilton off track late on, and a further 10-second penalty for "erratic" braking that led to the Briton running into the back of his RB16B.

"We didn't feel the five-second penalty was really warranted," added Horner. "And it certainly felt like Lewis just drove up the back of Max's car.

"Pretty much every decision went against us, as they did in Doha a couple of weeks ago.

"Then we saw two incidents [on Saturday]. It's been variable to say the least."

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