Max Verstappen revealed that a lack of grip and an inability to get heat into wet weather tyres hampered his performance during qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix, and that car issues meant that he and Aston Martin Red Bull Racing “missed an opportunity for a really strong qualifying“.
Verstappen is a man known for his wet weather prowess and, when it started to rain just as the first qualifying session was starting, many were predicting something special from the young Dutchman.
As time went on the weather only got worse, to the point where conditions during the third qualifying session looked almost identical to those at the 2016 Brazilian Grand Prix – the site of his wet weather drive so good he walked onto the podium to chants of “Senna” from the Brazilian fans. Far from producing another wonder drive though, he struggled to find any pace on the wet tyres – eventually settling for seventh place and finishing one position behind Red Bull sister team driver Pierre Gasly.
Commenting after qualifying, Verstappen said that 2018’s car struggles more on wet surfaces than 2017’s, and that the team needs to look into why that is.
“My main issue today was a lack of grip, especially in Q3.
“The feeling on the Intermediate tyre wasn’t that bad but when we put the Wets on it was really tricky. It seems at the moment that this year’s car struggles a bit in the wet and we need to look into why it is different to last year’s. We have already experienced that we struggle to get heat into the tyres and today that really showed. Usually I feel comfortable enough to lay down a lap in these conditions but I just was not able to today.
“I feel, due to the rain, we have missed an opportunity to have a really strong Qualifying so that is a bit frustrating. We weren’t happy this morning in the dry but we made some setup changes that I think would have made it better for Qualifying, had it not rained. This gives me confidence tomorrow but starting from P7 here does not make it easy. I think it is supposed to be dry and really warm for the race. That said we didn’t expect this today so let’s wait and see what we get tomorrow.”