Red Bull Racing driver Max Verstappen was expecting more from the Japanese Grand Prix qualifying session after finishing fifth fastest on Saturday, but will start fourth once Sebastian Vettel takes his three-place penalty.
“Not such a bad result in qualifying but I think the whole team expected a bit better,” admitted Verstappen. “We wanted to be in front of the Ferraris, we were very close but the balance of our car wasn’t quite right. In the low speed corners where we are usually very strong it didn’t quite work for us today, this could be the changing conditions but I’m not entirely sure.”
Verstappen has had the edge over his team-mate Daniel Ricciardo all weekend and starting fourth will give him an excellent chance for a podium.
“Staring fourth on the grid tomorrow gives us a chance of a good result so we can still be positive. Our race pace looks ok but everyone looks quite strong at the moment so it is quite unknown how tomorrow will play out. It will be hard to overtake here and like you can see from qualifying it is very close, I expect the same during the race.”
Mercedes AMG PETRONAS, Scuderia Ferrari and Red Bull were very closely matched throughout qualifying, this could make for some exciting battles at the Suzuka circuit on Sunday.
Verstappen hopes for a strong start and will prepare for a challenging race ahead, “If we can have a good start like in Malaysia, then we can achieve a good result. We will all sit down and work through this evening to make sure we are as prepared as possible for the race.”