AMuS: ‘Verstappen mistake in Q2 can be a divine gift’

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Max Verstappen will start from pole position during the race in Abu Dhabi. His competitor Lewis Hamilton will start from second place. Normally both top teams start on the mediums, but during Sunday’s race Verstappen will have to start on the softs. Despite the fact that Hamilton will start on the dirt on the harder tyre, the Briton can continue longer on the tire with the yellow cheeks.

Auto, Motor und Sport think Verstappen’s mistake during the second session in qualifying may have been ‘a gift from the gods’. The Dutchman braked in turn 1 on his second lap on the mediums. The Red Bull Racing driver’s tires had a flat side, forcing the 24-year-old Dutchman to stop his run on the yellow tire. At the end of Q2, Verstappen decided to ditch the mediums for the softs, after which he drove a faster lap on the red band.

Normally the mediums are the better band to start on, as a one-stop seems guaranteed. Yet Verstappen is not the only one to start on the softs and that could be an advantage for the Red Bull driver according to Auto, Motor und Sport. Within the top ten only both Mercedes and Yuki Tsunoda start on the yellow belt. “Traffic will not be a problem for the Dutchman, because Tsunoda will quickly move aside and then he may only have Valtteri Bottas in front of him,” said AMuS.

Ferrari and Alpine have faith in the softs

The Ferrari team has deliberately chosen to start on the softs. The team from Maranello expects the start on the red belt to be the faster strategy. In addition, the Alpine team expects the tire to last a lot longer than previously thought. “I don’t think Verstappen has the disadvantageous hand,” Mattia Binotto told Auto, Motor und Sport. “If we keep it up long enough, we can also opt for a one-stop,” said the Ferrari team boss.

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