Max Verstappen says he missed out on pole position for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix as a change in his tyre preparation technique did not work as planned.
Red Bull were beaten to pole position by Ferrari and Charles Leclerc for the first time in 2023 with Verstappen taking second on the grid ahead of team mate Sergio Perez.
After missing out on pole by almost two tenths of a second, Verstappen admitted that he had not had an ideal preparation for his final run of Q3.
“It’s always tough around here to really put the whole lap together,” said Verstappen after climbing out of his car. “The second run, we tried something different on the out lap which maybe was not ideal for the lap time at the end.”
The Red Bull driver explained what went wrong in the press conference after qualifying. “I was just trying to put a bit more temperature in them,” he said.
“After FP1 I think sometimes you’re not fully understanding what you want to do in qualifying. The first run was good, but it was still not perfect. So we tried.
“It could have worked and then it looks amazing – that’s a bit what happened also in Australia – and this time I guess it didn’t work.”
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Verstappen wasn’t fully confident during the final run as a result. “When you have that feeling already, then you are in your lap not as confident as the lap before. And I think that’s why the lap time didn’t really come out of it.”
However Red Bull should be competitive in the race, said Verstappen. “At the end of the day, it’s not really bad for us. We know that we have a quick race car and we have to try and of course use that mainly on Sunday. But first, of course we’ll wait and see what we can do tomorrow.”
With the grid set for Sunday’s grand prix, drivers will reset with a separate qualifying session on Saturday morning for the sprint race later in the day before assuming their grid positions from today’s qualifying session on Sunday’s grand prix. Verstappen says he is keen to get back into the second qualifying session tomorrow morning.
“I’m looking forward to it to see what we can do there,” he said. “Maybe we can find a few little things to do better.
“But overall, it’s all about just keeping it clean. It’s super easy around here to make a mistake, so that’s certainly what we don’t want to do. And then we’ll see what happens.”
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