Oracle Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen is set to line up third after a tight qualifying ahead of the Miami Grand Prix. Having had to acclimate to a brand-new track and find the right setup with minimal running time, Verstappen was “pleased” with how qualifying had gone.
“Overall, I was pleased with qualifying today, we are still trying to learn the track and trying to find a decent balance in the car. To be that competitive in qualifying was a big surprise, this is not an easy track to learn.”
Verstappen missed out on his opportunity to fight for pole, making an error on his final run and ultimately backing out of the lap. He is, however, happy to be on the second row after severely limited running on Friday, only completing just fifteen laps as a result of a day stricken with reliability issues.
“Of course, we want to be on pole but I think we’ve done a really good job considering where we were yesterday. It’s always going to be tricky and it’s hard to push to the limits when you don’t know the track overly well.”
Verstappen is excited to race the RB18 on Sunday, as the car has shown great straight-line speed and handling– also noting the track’s “slippery” nature outside the racing line.
“I think we have a good chance tomorrow as we have a good top speed and the car is handling quite well so I’m looking forward to it. It’s quite slippery outside the racing line, it almost feels like gravel, maybe I need to call my dad and ask for some rally advice.”
“Today wasn’t ideal but I am looking forward to a strong Sunday.” – Sergio Pérez
Team-mate Sergio Pérez felt that he missed out on a potential front row appearance at the Miami Grand Prix, having finished fourth on the timesheet with a gap of only a few hundredths to Scuderia Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz Jr in second. With margins so narrow, Pérez lamented his less than “perfect” second sector on his second Qualifying 3 attempt.
“We didn’t have a very straightforward qualifying, we had a poor Q3 run one, which put us on the back foot a bit. My second lap was much better, but I just didn’t get the perfect sector two and that was the main problem for me.
“Only a couple of hundreds would have put me P2 so you will always be disappointed with such a gap because a little improvement and you are P2 rather than P4.”
In spite of his disappointment, he is confident that Red Bull will be able to take the fight to the Ferraris with the right race strategy. With both Red Bulls on the heels of the Ferraris in front, it may shape up to be a fierce battle for the top spots between the Constructors’ title contenders.
“There is a long race ahead of us tomorrow and anything can happen, my race pace looks good so beating the Ferraris is possible if we have a better strategy than them. It will be an interesting race tomorrow with the tyre choice and what happens there. Today wasn’t ideal but I am looking forward to a strong Sunday.”