Max Verstappen says he is upset with the call to switch to intermediate tires after losing out on pole position to Lance Stroll at the Turkish Grand Prix.
Red Bull looked the class of the field on the full wet tire, with Verstappen fastest in every session in Turkey and leading a one-two ahead of teammate Alex Albon in Q2. However, with conditions improving, Racing Point opted for intermediates and started threatening at the front, so Verstappen was asked to make the same switch — aborting a quicker lap in the process — but it didn’t pay off as Stroll took pole as the Red Bull didn’t react as well on the different compound.
“I think it’s the first time I sit here this year upset,” Verstappen said after another top-three qualifying performance. “I think that says it all. It was all going quite well on the wet tires but already in Q1 when I tried to go on the inters, it was not working at all compared to other people on inters around me.
“In Q3, I was not very sure to go on the inters because I felt really comfortable on the extreme tires, so once we boxed and went out I had no grip at all compared to the laps I was doing before. So, just very disappointed to be in second.
“I think the track was definitely leaning to intermediates but for me it just felt so poor that if I had just stayed out on the wets I could have done the same lap time. So clearly something was not working for us today on that tire. No front grip; especially where there was a little bit of more standing water I was struggling a lot. Through the fast corners it was all right but I just felt the front tires were not gripping up.”
While unhappy, Verstappen suggests Red Bull made the right decision to change tires, but has a weakness it needs to address on the intermediates.
“I was going faster but I had no grip compared to the balance I had before. It was probably the right tire to be on but it was not good. We should have been doing better switching to that tire compared to what we were doing before, we were comfortably in first compared to everyone else on an extreme tire. So we definitely missed something there — doesn’t matter if you go purple (faster) compared to yourself.”