Max Verstappen says he can’t be expected not to make a mistake as he’s not a robot, after being outqualified by his teammate for the first time in three years at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
Red Bull and Mercedes looked closely matched throughout qualifying at Imola and it once again looked like Verstappen versus Lewis Hamilton for pole position. But Sergio Perez (pictured at right, above, with Verstappen) produced an excellent final lap on soft tires to take second on the grid — 0.035s off Hamilton — while Verstappen was beaten by his teammate by 0.052s after running wide at Turn 3.
“It felt all right in FP3, and just in qualifying you change tires from soft to medium, try to put your lap in and it was all coming along nicely,” Verstappen said. “But then in Q3 on the final run I just didn’t have a good lap. I went off at Turn 3 with two wheels, I know that Honda makes good lawnmowers but I don’t think this one was suited for that! But at least I tried.
“It was just a really scrappy lap; I haven’t had that in a long time so just need to understand why that happened. But nevertheless I think we were very close, so that’s positive, and like Checo said we have two cars close to Lewis on different tires so hopefully that will get some excitement tomorrow.
“It has been going really well for a very long time, but unfortunately we are not robots! I can’t program myself like that. But sometimes it happens — you make a mistake.”
With Perez starting on the soft tire and Verstappen — like Hamilton — on the medium, the Dutchman is confident there will be opportunities to attack Mercedes on Sunday, with Valtteri Bottas starting down in eighth place.
“It’s going to be interesting. Not only with (strategy) but also what the weather is going to do, if there is a bit of rain or not, so I guess we just have to wait and see what’s going to happen. But hopefully in the race it will be close again.”