Windsor sees ‘perfect’ Verstappen: ‘He drove a typical Verstappen lap’

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Max Verstappen can start from pole position during Sunday’s race, leaving Lewis Hamilton one place behind. The idea of ​​Red Bull Racing was to have the Dutchman start on the mediums, but after a flat spot, the Austrian team decided to switch to the red belt. According to Peter Windsor, the switch to the softer tire was not completely unexpected. “Verstappen seems to be feeling better on the red belt throughout the weekend.”

Red Bull sent both drivers out on the mediums at the start of the second qualifying. However, for the final run in Q2, the team decided to switch to the red belt. “Red Bull’s idea was of course to start on the mediums, which is why they also started on the yellow belt in Q2,” Windsor said in his analysis on his YouTube channel. “Normally that is the logical band to start, because then you can finish the race in the shortest possible time.”

The idea of ​​switching to the red belt came halfway through the second session, according to Windsor. The journalist thinks that the engineers of the Austrian racing stable have looked at the times of the Ferrari drivers. “Something changed at Red Bull between the two runs in Q2. The team saw that Carlos Sainz was incredibly fast on the softs. From that point on, the Mercedes team knew for sure that they wanted to start on mediums. Red Bull, on the other hand, saw this as a moment to go to the softs, because Verstappen had a good feeling on that tire during the free practice sessions.’

The softs gave Verstappen the fastest time in Q2. The Red Bull driver was able to continue this form in the all-deciding session in qualifying. “At the end of Q2 you saw that Max had the confidence,” continues Windsor. The Briton saw a phenomenal lap from Verstappen after the second session. “That meant he was able to drive that 1:22.1 in the last session. That was really a typical Max Verstappen lap. He drove perfectly at the limit and got the most out of his car. It was a driver’s pure instinct.’

Red Bull knows what it’s doing

The Austrian team’s homework started on Friday. The differences in strategy between Red Bull and Mercedes became clear then, according to Windsor. If Verstappen manages to take the world title, he can partly attribute that success to the run on the mediums in Friday’s free practice. During the second free practice, Verstappen was eight tenths slower than Hamilton. Then he probably said that the car feels better on the softs. That’s why he did his long runs on the red belt. The speed and consistency on that run was impressive.”

The laps on the red belt have ensured that Verstappen’s team can take the gamble. “Red Bull did their homework very well because they now know how to ride the first laps on the softs.” The journalist predicts an advantage for the Dutchman at the start. “It will be a problem for Mercedes because Hamilton will have to start on the dirty side of the track. In addition, there are a lot of drivers around Lewis who also start on the softs and may get out of their seats faster.”

‘Biggest problem Mercedes has been avoided’

Windsor thinks Hamilton needs to have a great start to keep his second place. Only if the Mercedes driver maintains his position at the start does the Briton still have a chance, according to his compatriot. “It could be a problem for Hamilton if he ends up in that traffic. He then has to watch out for his car, because it can sometimes happen that someone will brake at a strange moment. That could cost him a lot of time on Sunday.’

Still, the worst scenario for Hamilton seems to have been avoided. Windsor does not expect the title contenders to crash into the first corner. “The worst scenario for Mercedes seems to have been solved with the different strategies. The team was of course afraid that they would both have to start on the harder tire and then have a real fight in Turn 1. All that uncertainty is gone now, because Mercedes thinks Max will be unbeatable on the start.’

Verstappen has help from Pérez

Sergio Perez managed to qualify in fourth place and can therefore play a significant role for his teammate. Valltteri Bottas had a mediocre qualifying and only finished sixth. “Today Valtteri was unable to do his best and will start from sixth place. It will be a great feeling for Verstappen to know that his teammate will start from fourth place. People are afraid that Perez Lewis will tap off the track at the start, but that won’t happen,” Windsor assured.

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