Max Verstappen was pleased to take pole position for the Austrian Grand Prix on Saturday, but the Red Bull Racing driver was not happy with the laps he completed in Q3 that left him perilously close to being beaten by Lando Norris when it mattered.
Verstappen topped both the first and second segments of Qualifying at the Red Bull Ring with relative ease, but when it came to the top ten shootout in Q3, he was only 0.048 seconds ahead of the McLaren F1 Team driver when the chequered flag fell.
The popular Dutchman says he will analyse what changed in Q3 that prevented him from streaking to an easier pole position than what actually materialised, but all-in-all, he was happy with his day.
“Q1 and Q2 were very good and comfortable but I was not entirely happy in Q3 as my laps weren’t amazing,” said Verstappen. “I’m of course happy to be on pole, especially at the Red Bull Ring again, and having three poles in a row is great for the Team.
“But I cannot be entirely happy as I always want to be perfect and I always want to analyse what went well and what went wrong. Maybe that is how I grew up but I also believe that is how you keep improving.”
Verstappen says he is pleased with the Red Bull package at this stage of the season, and turning his attention to race day, he believes the car will be strong on Sunday and should allow him to fight for victory.
He also praised Norris for his amazing effort to get up to second on the grid, but he does not believe the McLaren driver will be challenging him for victory on Sunday afternoon.
“Now I’m just looking forward to tomorrow as we have a good race car and of course with Checo being third as well it is great for the Team and hopefully we can push together and score a lot of points,” said the Dutchman.
“It was also an amazing lap by Lando and they have been quite close this weekend but I don’t expect them to be our main rivals in the race tomorrow.
“I’m very pleased with the whole package, the car and engine together have been working so well over the last few races, so we have good confidence for tomorrow but for sure it’s never easy and it’s softer compounds compared to last week so it will be tough to manage those in the race and we still have strong competition.
“It was also amazing to see the orange army back in the grandstands. It has been a long time and they are so happy to be here cheering us on which I love to see.”
“It’s been a really hard weekend up until now” – Sergio Pérez
After appearing to struggle for pace during free practice, it all came together for Sergio Pérez when it mattered in Qualifying, with the Mexican set to start third on the grid on Sunday.
He was also able, like Verstappen, to make it through to Q3 on the medium compound tyre, meaning he will have a good opportunity to maximise his potential through the strategic options available to him.
“I’m happy, it’s a very good result for the Team here at our home track in Austria,” said Pérez. “Max and I are in a good starting position and hopefully we can get a good start off the line tomorrow, that will be critical.
“Overall, it’s been a really hard weekend up until now, we’ve been chasing a lot of balance, exploring the car in all areas and just chipping away at it in every single run. I’m starting on the mediums but it’s going to be a race where one or two pit stops is unknown, no one has had enough of a long run yet so it’s hard to tell.
“In the end we got a good lap today and it didn’t come easy, anything can happen tomorrow and I believe we have a better race car than quali so I hope that we can bring home some solid points for the Team. Congratulations to Lando too, he did a very strong lap today.”