Max Verstappen Spanish GP fears as Red Bull ‘not good enough’

The Dutchman has called on Red Bull to strive for perfection after missing out on pole position in Barcelona

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Max Verstappen has warned Red Bull they were “not good enough” to secure pole position, after he was beaten by Lando Norris in qualifying for the Formula 1 2024 Spanish Grand Prix.

The McLaren star pulled off a sensational lap at the checkered flag – a 1:11.383 – to eclipse Verstappen by just 0.02 of a second and secure his second career pole. That was despite the fact Red Bull brought significant upgrades to Spain with modified sidepods, a new bonnet and a revamped floor design, in addition to an entirely new rear wing.

However, it didn’t seem to give them a pace advantage in comparison to their rivals, with McLaren on pole and Mercedes on the second row without fitting new upgrades at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

Verstappen has admitted their rivals have made giant strides forward in their development, and called on Red Bull to ensure they are maximising their own performance in the race to finish claim another victory.

Max Verstappen in the garage during practice ahead of the 2024 Canadian Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool
Max Verstappen will start the 2024 Spanish Grand Prix from P2 | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Responding to a question about their modifications, Verstappen told the written press in Barcelona, including Total-Motorsport.com: “I think it’s been OK, but not good enough. Clearly, at these kind of tracks, I was hoping of course to be ahead.

“The other teams are catching up and we’ve seen this already in the last few races, so it’s definitely a lot harder [to get pole position]. We need to do everything perfect to be first and we just have to bring more performance to the car.”

Verstappen explains why he missed out on pole

Verstappen had been fastest in Q2 and looked to be on course for pole until Norris narrowly beat his time. The 26-year-old was satisfied with his own performance, but explained why his car setup may have cost him time.

“The lap itself was good, I even also got a tow into Turn 1. I think in general when you look at it, like all of qualifying was just miles better than practice for me,” Verstappen added. “I always felt like the car was not really connected in all the free practice sessions so when I went into qualifying it just clicked much better.

“And I think in the very high speed, we were particularly strong around the lap at Turns 3, 9 and the last corner, which are quite constantly flat. But I guess in a way, that’s why we were not improving that much in the final few runs because those corners are flat, so there’s nothing to gain and then there are not that many corners left around the track.”

Verstappen added: “Maybe [the car was] a bit too draggy for qualifying looking back at it. But that’s something that is always very easy to say afterwards because the whole of the weekend, we were just sliding around too much. Now, probably it was finally hooked up and you probably would have turned down the wing a little bit, but that’s how it goes.”

Joe Krishnan
Joe Krishnan is an NCTJ-qualified journalist who has worked for a number of media organisations, including the Daily Express, The Mirror, Evening Standard, The Independent and Bleacher Report. Joe has been following F1 since when he watched Mika Hakkinen clinch the 1999 drivers' championship, and his first taste of real-life racing action was watching David Coulthard spin off into the gravel at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in 2001.
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