Max Verstappen baffled by Brazilian GP qualifying issue despite pole

Max Verstappen took pole position at the 2023 Brazilian GP despite struggling with his Red Bull.

-

Max Verstappen admitted his Red Bull was uncomfortable to drive in qualifying for the 2023 Brazilian Grand Prix despite taking pole position on a stormy afternoon in Sao Paulo.

Q3 was the first session Verstappen has topped all weekend after George Russell led earlier in qualifying, but with a jet-black maelstrom surging over the horizon towards Interlagos, the Dutchman made sure to hurry through his outlap before the storm hit.

Verstappen kept his head when it mattered most and will start Sunday’s race from pole alongside Charles Leclerc, but still didn’t seem overly confident that Red Bull are the team to beat in Brazil.

“It was a bit difficult over the bumps, I don’t know why that was the case because we didn’t really touch the car,” Verstappen told the media. “So we need to understand that because on the bumps it was not very comfortable. But we tried to work our way around it.

“I didn’t even have a lap on the soft tyres because we only had FP1. So naturally in Q1 there’s always a bit more margin in your lap time, but it was extremely tight so if you didn’t do a good lap, you’re out.

“And that just continued through the qualifying, there was always a threat of rain. I think in Q1 and Q2, it was quite clear that it wasn’t happening, but because of the pace of everyone else, you were forced to put new tyres on basically.”

As the rain pelted down on Interlagos there was an inescapable sense that fans both at the circuit and watching on TV had been robbed of one of the most competitive qualifying sessions of the season.

However, that should get rectified at least a little by the Sprint weekend, with Saturday’s shootout likely to be a one-shot affair between the leaders.

“I don’t know, it depends on the wind direction we get tomorrow. But yeah, I think it will be close again, so we’ll see,” Verstappen added.

Pole was up for grabs

Max Verstappen in free practice at the 2023 Brazilian GP | Mark Thompson/Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Verstappen admitted he wasn’t sure if Red Bull would’ve taken pole position if it wasn’t for the storm curtailing qualifying.

It was an extreme rarity in 2023 as the entire top-five of the constructors’ championship were represented in Q3 – both drivers from Red Bull, Mercedes, Ferrari, McLaren and Aston Martin made the cut.

“The gaps were just very, very close, I think we were quite competitive,” Verstappen added. “I think no one really knew who was going to be first in Q3 if it would’ve been a normal session without the weather incoming.

“But I think that makes it quite interesting for Sunday as well to see how everything will evolve with the long-run pace”

Adam Dickinson
Adam Dickinson
An international multi-award-winning journalist, Adam Dickinson has written for Total-Motorsport.com since June 2022 and also contributes to TNT Sports, Eurosport and the Rugby Paper. He's also had articles published in the Daily Telegraph and several local newspapers, and previously worked for Last-Lap.co.uk and FeederSeries.net in motorsport and graduated with a First-Class Journalism Degree from the University of Sheffield having also studied in Oklahoma. Adam started watching F1 by accident in 2007, catching the last race in Indianapolis, and attended his first race as a journalist at the 2023 British Grand Prix.
- Advertisment -

LATEST NEWS

Max Verstappen in the Paddock ahead of the 2024 Chinese Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

F1 Betting Odds for Chinese GP 2024

0
As the Formula 1 circus rolls into Shanghai for the 2024 Chinese Grand Prix, betting odds are keenly watched...
Pierre Gasly of Red Bull Racing during practice for 2019 Chinese Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Chinese GP 2024 Weather: Latest forecast for F1 race in Shanghai

0
As Formula 1 teams gear up for the 2024 Chinese Grand Prix, all eyes are on the ever-changing weather...
Zhou Guanyu displays 2024 Chinese GP helmet

All the new F1 driver helmets for 2024 Chinese Grand Prix

0
Formula 1 finally returns to Shanghai for the first time since 2019 as the Chinese Grand Prix is back...
Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull leads Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari and the rest of the field at the start of the 2016 Chinese Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

F1 Chinese Grand Prix – Past Winners

0
The Chinese Grand Prix has showcased a series of spectacular races since its first race in 2004 at the...

Where to Watch F1 2024 Chinese GP on TV and Streaming

0
The 2024 Chinese Grand Prix is gearing up to be an electrifying event in the Formula 1 calendar, as...
The Chinese GP returned to the calendar in 2024 | Dan Istitene / Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Unpredictability and unknowns are the Chinese GP buzzwords

0
The Chinese Grand Prix is back for 2024 after five years away due the Covid-19 pandemic and it almost...
Race winner Max Verstappen, Second placed Sergio Perez and Third placed Carlos Sainz of Ferrari celebrate with Craig Dear, Principal Aerodynamicist at Red Bull Racing on the podium at 2024 Japanese Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Carlos Sainz fuels Red Bull talk as Ferrari star reveals ‘best options’

0
Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz has dropped a hint over which Formula 1 team he would like to join for...
The Chinese GP is held in Shanghai. F1/X

F1 stars voice safety fears as Chinese GP organisers face scrutiny over painted track

0
Organisers for the Formula 1 2024 Chinese Grand Prix are facing questions from F1 teams and drivers over their...
Alexander Albon of Williams during 2023 Canadian Grand Prix | Williams F1 Team

Alex Albon would rather ‘stay at home’ than avoid risks despite Williams chassis fears

0
The extent of the issues at Williams became apparent when they revealed they do not have the resources to...
Lando Norris navigates The Strip Circuit at the 2023 Las Vegas GP | McLaren F1 Team

Disheartened Lando Norris rules out any chance of an F1 race win soon

0
After the 2021 Russian Grand Prix, a Formula 1 win for Lando Norris felt like an eventual inevitability, but...
- Advertisment -