Red Bull Racing‘s Max Verstappen believes today’s qualifying session wasn’t ideal for him ahead of tomorrow’s Japanese Grand Prix.
The Dutch driver qualified in fifth but will start the race from fourth following Valtteri Bottas‘ grid penalty, meaning Verstappen will share the second row with team-mate Daniel Ricciardo.
Verstappen admits that he felt out of rhythm in Qualifying 3 due to some tweaks to his car, that cost him a few tenths of a second.
“It wasn’t an ideal Qualifying session for me, Q1 and Q2 went well but then we tried a few changes for Q3 which put me out of my rhythm a bit.” said Verstappen.
“The time was still ok but I think I could have got a bit more out of it at the end. It was a better second timed lap but I think I could have finished a position higher, it was very tight.”
Despite locking out the second row and being close to the Mercedes AMG Petronas‘ and Scuderia Ferrari‘s, Verstappen says he expects the Silver arrows to pull away with their strong race pace but isn’t sure about the Ferrari’s.
“I think the Mercedes race pace is quick but we are unsure of how Ferrari are looking, tomorrow will tell.”
“We gain one spot with Bottas’ penalty so all we can do is fight and try to progress from P4.”
With the Japanese Grand Prix at the Suzuka International Racing Course expecting to be a dry race, the Dutch driver admits he would like to see some rain appear in the race but knows that the chance of that happening is unlikely.
He also admits that he hopes that Turn 1 will be interesting, with title rivals Sebastian Vettel and pole sitter Lewis Hamilton starting next to each other heading into the first corner.
“I would like rain but that isn’t going to happen so hopefully with the dry weather we have good degradation and can challenge for a good result.”
“Daniel and I are running different configurations tomorrow so we will have to see how they play come the race. I hope the people in front make Turn 1 interesting tomorrow but not for me. I like sandwiches but not on the track.”