Verstappen confident in spite of DRS issue

Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

Verstappen confident in spite of DRS issue

Formula 1

Verstappen confident in spite of DRS issue


Max Verstappen is confident Red Bull has the race pace to beat Ferrari after a DRS issue prevented him fighting for pole position at the Spanish Grand Prix.

The first runs in Q3 saw Verstappen on provisional pole after Charles Leclerc spun on his opening attempt, but the championship leader hit back to go 0.3s clear with his final lap. The Dutch driver didn’t get a chance to respond as his DRS failed to open on the pit straight, but he believes the work carried out by Red Bull during FP3 made the car both quicker over one lap and better on its tires.

“It’s difficult to tell [if pole position was possible]. A lot of people improved on the second run, which is quite normal,” Verstappen said. “But my DRS didn’t open so it felt like a loss of power because of the drag. It’s a shame — we could have at least had an opportunity.

“This weekend was a bit more difficult for us to really find a good balance in the car. [Ferrari] brought updates which probably helped them a bit with lap time, so for us [not bringing any significant upgrades], it was a bit more tricky, but let’s see tomorrow. I think our long runs were quite decent, so hopefully we can at least be a bit closer.

“I think what we improved over one lap won’t hurt our long runs, just the way we balance the car. There was a bit more potential for the one lap performance. We definitely did that well yesterday and this morning, I think. It was a bit more tricky for us to really find a connected car and we have that.”

Verstappen says it isn’t imperative that he takes the lead on the opening lap, even though he fought Lewis Hamilton hard on the first lap one year ago.

“It can be important because, when I started here in 2016, I was fourth after the start and a crash happened. Last year I took the lead at the start and I still didn’t win. You need good pace in the race; you need good tire management around here. It’s really hard on the tires with the high-speed cornering. If you get the opportunity, you go for it. If not, you don’t and you just settle and wait for the opportunity and hope that the package you have in the race is competitive enough to fight for the win.”