Max Verstappen highlights Red Bull struggles despite pole

Max Verstappen has openly admitted he and Red Bull will need to analyse why the team lost time between pre-season testing and practice for the 2023 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen believes Red Bull will need to analyse why the team struggled for pace during practice in spite of taking pole position for Sunday’s 2023 Bahrain Grand Prix.

After a perfect test, Red Bull had their work cut out during practice after Aston Martin, and Ferrari found pace. Nonetheless, Verstappen regrouped and took the 21st pole position of his F1 career.

“I am particularly happy because my whole weekend up until qualifying was very difficult explained Verstappen to the press after qualifying. “I couldn’t really find a comfortable balance I had in testing, and I was struggling a lot to get the car together.

“I went into Q1, and everything felt a bit better, but it was still not, let’s say, perfect. So for sure, for the next race, we will need to analyse a bit why from the test to the race.

“But nevertheless, we are sitting here with two cars [on the front row. So coming off last year, I think this is a very strong start for us. So yeah, very happy with that.”

Max Verstappen of Red Bull during qualifying for 2023 Bahrain Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Need to change balance after difficult practice

The reason behind Verstappen’s struggles with the car was the balance as he and the team tried various setups to find the right one for qualifying.

The changes worked, and the Dutchman could produce a final run which was over a tenth quicker than his teammate Sergio Perez.

“I went left, right and back to the middle to find a bit of a compromise,” said Verstappen. “[It’s] a bit unusual [to] make such big changes to the [balance]. 

‘‘But like I said, in qualifying, that’s probably the best balance I’ve had throughout the weekend. You come out of qualifying, [and[ you always immediately analyse your lap. [So] yeah, overall, pretty pleased.”

Race pace will suit Red Bull more.

Max Verstappen of Red Bull during qualifying ahead of 2023 Bahrain Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

With Ferrari closer than expected, and Sunday’s 57-lap race, on paper, should be an intriguing affair.

However, the race pace is expected to suit Red Bull and Aston Martin, with both teams showing good speed on the medium compounds of tyre during practice. 

“That should normally be our stronger point than the one-lap pace,” said Verstappen. “So, hopefully, we can [be quicker in the race].

“I mean, [Ferrari] are very close to us. Of course, we have shown [we] really good race pace, but we still need to show that tomorrow. 

“A lot of things can happen during a race, which sometimes is not in your control. So yeah, we need to focus on ourselves and do the best we can. Hopefully, no crazy things will happen.”

Ed Spencer
Ed Spencer
FIA accredited journalist
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