Verstappen upset with himself over final corner qualifying crash

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Verstappen upset with himself over final corner qualifying crash

Formula 1

Verstappen upset with himself over final corner qualifying crash


Max Verstappen admits his crash in the final corner of qualifying was “really disappointing” but believes Red Bull has the car to fight with Mercedes in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton was on provisional pole position ahead of teammate Valtteri Bottas, but Verstappen was putting together an excellent final lap and looked set to take pole after setting the fastest first two sectors. With just one corner to go, Verstappen locked up and hit the wall on the exit, damaging the right rear corner and leaving him third on the grid.

“I arrived there, from my feeling I was braking at the same point,” Verstappen said. “But I had a little lock-up and I still tried to of course finish the lap but I clipped the wall on the exit, so I couldn’t continue. It’s extremely disappointing of course, we had a good car in qualifying and everything seemed to be coming together.

“It’s just hard to nail the lap in Q1 and Q2 with traffic and stuff. In Q3 it was good but unfortunately I couldn’t finish the lap, it’s extremely disappointing.

“I saw it was a good lap, I was three-tenths faster on my delta. I thought the last corner there might be a bit to gain. I knew Lewis was a tenth (of a second), tenth and a half ahead, but I approached it like I always do in qualifying. But now somehow I just locked up. I have to see if I braked later or not. From my feeling, I didn’t.

“It’s just really disappointing because it was a really good lap up until then, I was really enjoying it. Then of course not to finish it is really disappointing, especially now in this fight, you want to start first. But nevertheless in a way it also gives me hope because in Qatar we were four and a half tenths off and in the race, it was going to be really tough. Here, I think we have a good shot at it.”

While he starts behind both Mercedes drivers who appear to have a car better set-up for the race, Verstappen believes he has a chance of overtaking even on the new street circuit.

“I haven’t really followed a car around here so it’s a bit difficult to say, so I hope it’s going to be alright. It’s not only that, we don’t really know the tires, how they’re going to behave. I’m confident, of course I would’ve liked to have started first, but now starting third is a bit more difficult. But definitely not impossible.”

And Verstappen insists he’s calm about the championship battle, despite knowing he will win the title if he outscores Hamilton by 18 points on Sunday.

“I think people who know me, I’ve been like this from when I started racing. Today I’m upset with myself but it’s still two races to go, lots of things can happen. I feel good with the car, luckily we’ve been competitive, not like Qatar where we’ve been off. It’s a nice battle, it’s exciting, you go into a session not knowing who’s going to be ahead of the two teams. I think that’s always really cool for everyone. Hopefully it’s going to be the same tomorrow.”