Win 'a stretch' but Saudi podium possible for Verstappen

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Win 'a stretch' but Saudi podium possible for Verstappen

Formula 1

Win 'a stretch' but Saudi podium possible for Verstappen


Max Verstappen believes he can reach the podium from but that victory could be out of reach in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix after a driveshaft failure left him 15th on the grid.

The championship leader has been the clear favorite throughout the weekend so far in Jeddah, topping all three practice sessions and being a second clear of the quickest non-Red Bull car in FP3. However, early in Q2, he suffered a mechanical issue that took him out of the session and leaves him starting 15th, with team-mate Sergio Perez on pole.

“In Turn 10 the driveshaft just broke, so that’s really unfortunate,” Verstappen said. “And, also, (it’s) something I don’t really understand, because we never had any issues with that so far this year. But it did happen and we’ll analyze everything and try to understand how that happen.

“The car has been quick all weekend. Also, every time I went out the car has been working really well, I felt comfortable, so I’m sure we can move forward. I do think that trying to win the race is a bit of a stretch, because of the management that needs to happen on the tires, and everyone just seems to drive to a certain pace, but we’ll try to recover as much as we can and I know it’s a long season, so a lot of things can happen.”

While he feels the win is out of reach, Verstappen is looking forward to putting on a fighting drive through the field given the pace of his car, although wary of the risks on the Jeddah street circuit.

“It has been all straightforward, to be honest. A better weekend, actually, than in Bahrain, for me personally — how I felt in the car, and I think you could see that in practice — but that doesn’t matter when you can’t really do qualifying, right? So, we need to understand what went wrong.

“It’s a bit of both, honestly — I’m disappointed not having a proper qualifying but I’m also excited for tomorrow. Yes (the podium is possible). If everything works well on the first lap I think we can move quite far forward, but we have to wait and see how far we can reach.

“Starting around that spot is normally a bit of chaos in the first lap. In some places you cannot simply run off the track to avoid things because there’s a wall, right? It’s a bit more tricky than a lap one in Spa, for example.”