While Max Verstappen was able to split the Ferraris and take fourth on the grid for tomorrow's race, Honda's best qualifying position since its return to the sport, teammate Pierre Gasly was one of the big shocks of the day, failing to make the cut in Q1 and falling at the first hurdle.
Losing out to a strategic error cost the youngster dearly, Red Bull hard-man, Helmut Marko, admitting the team owed Gasly an apology.
It was intended that the Frenchman use just one set of tyres in Q1, running a flying lap, a cool-down lap during which the battery would be re-charged, and then a second flying lap.
However, Gasly actually did two cooling down laps and as a result was unable to improve his time and on returning to the pits it was too late to go out again.
"Unfortunately the spanner in the works was having to do two charge laps," admitted Horner, "that was exactly the same as Lewis Hamilton, and unfortunately his second flying lap didn't improve.
"There was an issue on the dash on the recharging of his battery after having set that lap," he revealed. "The bottom line was that by the time the right communication had been given to him it took two cool-down laps to recharge the battery to get it into the right position to start his final timed lap, which unfortunately he didn't improve on.
"In the meantime the circuit was evolving quicker than we expected," admitted the Briton. "So it was almost a perfect storm.
"With 20/20 hindsight it's easy to say; 'yes we should have taken two sets'," he continued, "but you can only deal with what you know at the time. After he completed his second flying lap, he had missed the cut-off of getting in, getting a set of tyres, and getting out again. At the same time the track was ramping up quickly. I don't think anybody expected it, even Sebastian was extremely close to the cut-off.
"Obviously it's all very tight, it's frustrating for him in his first qualy, but I'm sure he'll race strongly from there tomorrow."
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