Max Verstappen admitted it was somewhat disappointing not to secure his maiden Formula 1 pole position at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez on Saturday despite having been the man to beat in the sessions heading into Qualifying.
The Aston Martin Red Bull Racing driver had looked on course to take top spot in Q3, setting the fastest time in the opening runs, but team-mate Daniel Ricciardo’s superb final lap denied the Dutchman pole position by 0.026 seconds.
Verstappen felt he was hampered by the same issues that blighted his FP2 session on Friday, with locking rear brakes while off-throttle as he took the turns, with the issue costing him enough time to prevent him taking pole in Mexico City.
“It’s really disappointing to be consistently the fastest all weekend, and then not when it counts,” said Verstappen. “I felt comfortable going into qualifying but I soon experienced similar issues that I had felt in FP2, the rear was locking while I was off throttle during cornering.
“I felt like I couldn’t push the car to its limit, which you need to do in Q3 as it is the most important session. I was surprised to be on top of the time sheet at the start of Q3 but in the end it wasn’t enough to take the pole.”
Verstappen does not believe the problem that affected him in Qualifying will be as detrimental on race day, but it does not lessen the frustration to not be Formula 1’s youngest ever polesitter. However, locking out the front row for the first time in the turbo hybrid era is a great feat for the Red Bull team.
“The issue should be less influential tomorrow which means we can both have a good race,” admitted the Dutchman. “Given today’s frustration we are still in really strong shape going into Sunday, it’s just a shame to miss the pole.
“The fact we have locked out the front row for the first time in years is a brilliant result for the Team, you can’t beat first and second.”