Max Verstappen says Sebastian Vettel cost him a chance of pole position by getting in his way late in his final lap in qualifying at the Portuguese Grand Prix.
The Red Bull driver set what would have been a good enough lap for pole position with his first timed effort but ran slightly wide at Turn 4 after a snap of oversteer, meaning the time was deleted. On his final run, Verstappen was close to his previous effort as the two Mercedes drivers were failing to improve, but caught Vettel towards the end of the lap and says it cost him time.
“It’s been a bit hit and miss anyway, the whole weekend,” Verstappen said. “We are struggling a lot to find the balance and I didn’t enjoy one single lap this weekend, just because of the state of the track. The layout is amazing but the grip we are experiencing I don’t think is nice. I know it’s the same for everyone but for me personally, it’s just not enjoyable to drive.
“I started off in qualifying really slow. I just had no balance in the car. We slowly got to a point where I was happier, but it was basically just compromising one thing and then also losing a bit of performance in the other thing.
“It was just not nice, and then I had a little moment at Turn 4 on the first run in Q3. In the end that was the fastest lap but it just shows that it was a really difficult session to get any kind of grip, because the corner is flat and suddenly out of the blue the car just snapped on me and I ran a bit wide.
“I thought I could do that lap again, so I go out, and I was within a tenth of the lap and then in the last sector I lost all of my lap time with an Aston Martin in front and taking my tow on the line as well. Yeah, messy, but it is what it is.”
Verstappen promises to put the pressure on Mercedes in the race, but reveals he also was expecting a difficult weekend after doing some homework on how Portimao has evolved since last October.
“I checked the MotoGP times and they were the same already. I know of course they have a little bit of a different front tire but in general it’s just poor. I remember coming here last year before the grand prix and it was one of my top three favorite tracks but then they changed the tarmac and I don’t enjoy it anymore.”