Max Verstappen felt a lack of grip with his Red Bull car was the cause behind him losing pole for Sunday’s 2023 Mexico City Grand Prix.
Before Qualifying, Verstappen had dominated proceedings, topping all three practice sessions, making him the favourite to take pole position for Sunday’s race.
But Verstappen was playing catch-up in Q3 after only going third fastest on his first run and needed to improve on his second run to secure his 11th pole of 2023.
Despite going fastest in the second sector on his final run, Verstappen had a poor last sector and remained third behind polesitter Charles Leclerc, and his Ferrari teammate Carlos Sainz.
“I still felt quite bad in the middle sector, and I was sliding around quite a bit,” Verstappen explained to the press. “My first sector wasn’t probably ideal. I improved, but not enough.
“But it’s just feeling and then yeah, around when you slide a bit too much. Like I said, it doesn’t come together, and when it’s so tight, one or two-tenths can be easily lost.
“And that’s what happened in Qualifying. I personally just expected it to be a little bit better in the evolution through qualifying from our side, and I think that’s what we were lacking a little bit.
“Q1 was okay. Q2 wasn’t too bad. It just seemed to fall away from us. The improvements were not big enough going into Q3, but this track is extremely difficult to hit the perfect lap.”
Surprised to be under investigation
Verstappen had to visit the stewards’ office session after being put under investigation for allegedly impeding in the pit lane during Qualifying.
George Russell and Fernando Alonso were also put under investigation for similar incidents in the pits, whilst Lewis Hamilton had his own issues with the stewards for speeding under yellow flags during Qualifying.
“Just everyone [was] trying to make a gap,” explained Verstappen when asked about his view of the pit lane incidents. “I saw a car passing five cars behind me, and then he tried to pass me as well.
“But I’m just trying to make a gap out of the pit lane, and that’s basically what everyone has been doing. So I’m quite surprised.
“I think everyone should then be called up for impeding because everyone with this new rule is driving very slowly in the pitlane. I don’t think I did anything wrong.”
Ultimately the stewards decided that no further action was needed on any of the aforementioned incidents.