Styrian Grand Prix – Red Bull’s Max Verstappen says he wouldn’t have beaten Lewis Hamilton to pole position even without his late Q3 spin.
Max Verstappen was a constant threat for pole position throughout the final part of qualifying at a soaking Red Bull Ring as he and Hamilton traded fastest times.
However, trying to respond to Hamilton’s eventual pole position laptime, Verstappen pushed too hard through the final sector of the lap and lost the rear of his car. He ended up claiming P2 anyway, 1.2 seconds away from pole position as a result of not being able to put in his faster final lap.
“I think overall quali was good. Just Q1 was so busy.” said Verstappen afterwards. “You couldn’t see a thing. You always had to drop… leave a bit of a space so you could do a lap. In the whole of Q1 I didn’t have a free lap. But still it was alright and also the track wasn’t too bad to drive on. With these cars, with these big tyres as well, it’s incredible, you can’t see a thing when you are within six seconds of the car ahead of you.”
“But yeah it was all going well, the same in Q2 actually, I think it was all pretty good.” explained Verstappen. But then towards the end it started to rain a bit more and immediately sector two was becoming more tricky. So yeah, I couldn’t really improve on my last two or three laps but it was good enough of course to go to Q3. Q3 was very difficult, for me at least. Just a lot of standing water. I lost quite a lot of grip and it didn’t feel as good as Q1 or Q2 but still of course to be second is alright.”
Verstappen could have been considerably closer than 1.2 seconds away from Hamilton, but the Dutch driver believed he wouldn’t have beaten the Merc to pole position even without his error. Verstappen appeared to have been distracted by a car pitting in front of him, just before he came around the same corner and lost the rear.
“I guess it was Seb going into the pits.” explained Verstappen. “You can’t see even the colour of the car. I understeered because of it and then I went a bit wide, like I came onto the kerb on the exit and I lost it and had a four-wheel drift into the last corner but anyway it was not good enough of a lap to beat Lewis.”
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