Max Verstappen looks back with satisfaction on his qualifying, but his focus soon shifts to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. There, the Red Bull driver will start from pole position, while his direct competitor Lewis Hamilton is next to him in second place. Both drivers do not have to immediately count on help from their teammates, although Sergio Perez is closest with P4.
“This round was perhaps slightly better than last week,” Verstappen begins after qualifying, quoted by De Telegraaf. Last week, the Dutchman also drove a hell of a lap in qualifying, but ended up in the wall. “Also considering the way the entire weekend has gone until then,” he continues about the current weekend. “Until then they were quite strong and I didn’t really have a top balance in the car. We knew how to turn that around.’
‘You never intend to do that’
In Q2, Verstappen still broke his yellow tire, and according to Hamilton he would have done this on purpose. “It was certainly not on purpose,” said Verstappen. ‘You never intend to hit your tire on one side. I wanted to start another lap on that yellow band, blocked and had a big flat spot. So I had to go in. The softest tire does wear out a bit faster, but Friday’s long run looked good. So I think it’s all right.’
For Verstappen there is now no other option than to focus on the race, because that is where the points are awarded. ‘I’m going to sleep well and have friends and family around me. I will not prepare otherwise. It has indeed been an unpredictable season, on many fronts. I feel like we have done very well as a team this season, whatever happens on Sunday’, concludes Verstappen.