Formula 1 Racing

Verstappen explains Abu Dhabi GP F1 qualifying “scare”

Pole man Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, in Parc Ferme

The world champion was just preparing to go out for his first run in Q3 when there was some frantic action in the Red Bull garage after his car completely stopped.

That delay meant a plan for Verstappen to help tow teammate Sergio Perez had to be thrown out of the window while the Dutchman reset his car’s systems.

In the end, Verstappen was able to get going and put in a lap that was good enough to secure pole position on his first run, before bettering it later on.

On the second runs, Verstappen got out on schedule and was able to give Perez a slipstream that helped the Mexican secure second on the grid for a Red Bull front-row lockout.

Reflecting on his run to pole position, Verstappen said: “It was a bit of an up and down qualifying.

“It started off quite well. Q2 was a little messy and honestly I don’t know why, but the tyres, I just couldn’t get the grip together. But then in Q3 it all felt a bit more normal.

“[Then] we had a bit of a scare. The car turned off before the first run, so we had to reboot everything. Then we went out and both of the laps were good enough [for pole], so of course very pleased with that.

“But I’m also very happy that both cars are on the front row because we know that, of course, we want to win the race, but we also want to finish second with Checo in the championship. So that’s definitely a great start for tomorrow.”

Pole man Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, in Parc Ferme

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

Perez was delighted at getting up onto the front row, as he praised Verstappen’s assistance which has boosted his chances of securing runner-up in the drivers’ championships this year.

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“It is a good start,” said Perez. “I think we didn’t make that final step in Q3, especially Q3 run one wasn’t that good. So we were a bit behind.

“But it’s good. It’s good to lock out that front row for tomorrow. Max did a great job for me. We worked together as a team really strongly on that final run. So yeah, looking forward to tomorrow which is the day that really matters.”

Despite Red Bull dominating qualifying, Verstappen still predicted a close contest on Sunday.

“For sure today was amazing, but I still expect it to be a good battle tomorrow,” he explained. “At least we have both cars there and we can do what we want.”


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