Despite sitting in sixth place in the Formula One World Championship and holding the title of the youngest driver ever to win a Grand Prix, Max Verstappen had never driven a Formula One car at the Hockenheimring before this weekend. Nevertheless, the young driver put in a strong performance in qualifying for the German Grand Prix, with an impressive fourth place with a time of 1:14.834.
The Dutch teenager felt positive with his performance, especially as he placed ahead of both Ferrari drivers, including Kimi Raikkonen, who he had a close, and controversial, battle with at last weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix.
“I’m feeling really good, it was a smooth qualifying,” said Verstappen. “Q3 was strong, it was just a bit of a shame about my last sector where I washed out and lost a few tenths. It’s quite tough to get the tyres in the right window but we still managed a good time.
“The main target is to be in front of the Ferraris and that is what we have done. That said, we know they will be quick in the race as we saw last week.”
The Red Bull team need just one point to take second place from the Ferrari team and become the closest rivals of Mercedes, but Verstappen is under no illusions that they will challenging the World Champions for the top spot of the podium or for their championship placing.
Despite this, he seemed pleased with the pace of the car and knows that a podium is very much possible for either of the drivers.
“Mercedes look pretty strong but we are not that far away so I think we can be very happy with that. It’s my first time here in a Formula 1 car and not an easy track to learn so I’m really pleased with today.
“We can both be satisfied to be on the second row as this track wasn’t expected to be the best for us. Race pace is looking very good for the moment. We definitely want to be challenging for a podium tomorrow, I think a win might be difficult though.”