Max Verstappen hit out at what he considered repetitive questions about the way he will race Lewis Hamilton in Budapest after qualifying third for the Hungarian Grand Prix.
Hamilton took pole position at the Hungaroring as Mercedes locked out the front row, with Verstappen third and therefore with both Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas in the post-qualifying press conference. As the MC started a question about how Verstappen would race Hamilton following their incident at Silverstone, the Red Bull driver interrupted: “Can we already stop about this? Because have had so many f•••ing questions about this.
“It’s just ridiculous. The whole Thursday we have been answering this stupid s••t all the time, so can we just stop please? We are racers, so of course we will race hard but fair. We just keep pushing each other.”
The question came after a tense end to qualifying, when Mercedes appeared to back the Red Bulls up on the final runs, leading to Sergio Perez not starting his lap.
“Well, basically I went a bit backwards compared to my Q2. Just didn’t have the same grip over the lap,” Verstappen related. “I don’t know if it was track-related or tire-related. Naturally, around here the corners follow up really quickly, so if you don’t feel good in one corner the next won’t be great. Just lost a bit of lap time; but nevertheless, I don’t think even with that we could have had pole.
“Not the greatest weekend so far, I think in general we’ve been a bit behind and we just need to analyze why that is. I think Silverstone we were quite strong, I know they brought new bits again to the car, so we just need to work on ourselves and try to improve the situation, because of course, we cannot be happy with this.”
Asked whether he was compromised by the Mercedes approach to the end of Q3, Verstappen says the improvement needed to gain a position wasn’t possible for him regardless.
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“Of course the tires were a bit cold but I wouldn’t have gained four tenths if the tires would have been a bit warmer,” he said.
After qualifying finished, Hamilton was heavily booed by fans in the main grandstand opposite the pit lane but Verstappen — who claimed he didn’t hear it while in the FIA garage — believes it’s not a big issue.
“What do you want me to say? It’s not correct of course but at the end of the day we are drivers — we shouldn’t get disturbed by these kind of things. You should just focus on what you have to do and that’s to deliver in the car.
“Luckily we wear helmets, so when you are driving when it matters, you don’t hear anything. That’s where we are different to other sports, so we are probably quite lucky with that. But like I said, it’s not nice but it shouldn’t influence any of us. We’re all professional and know what we have to do anyway.”