Max Verstappen is relieved that he was able to live up to Red Bull Racing’s expectations on Saturday with the fastest time in qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix. It is the first time that the Dutchman is allowed to start the opening race of the season at pole position.
“We had a good test week, but of course that gives no guarantees. The car has been working very well all weekend and it is a real pleasure to drive it”, said a satisfied Verstappen in an initial reaction to qualifying.
The 23-year-old Verstappen set the fastest time in all free practice and was the favorite to take pole in Bahrain, but it was all close together in Q3. Verstappen set the tone in the decisive session by setting the fastest time in his first lap, but the Red Bull driver knew he could do even better.
“My first lap in Q3 was not great. There was more to it, but I had to be careful with the tires because of the temperature,” said Verstappen, who did improve and triumphed beautifully with a time of 1.28.997.
Max Verstappen lived up to expectations in qualifying for the Bahrain GP.
‘We performed when we had to’
Conditions in Bahrain were far from ideal, according to Verstappen. “The wind turned a lot so it was hard to get everything right. But the car is just doing well and I am very happy with this pole position. We performed when we had to. This is a great start to the game. season.”
Verstappen was the only driver to dive under a minute and 29 seconds. He trumped Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton (second) and Valtteri Bottas (third), among others. In the entire previous season, Mercedes grabbed pole position in just two Grands Prix.
“I have never experienced this before at Red Bull”, Verstappen continued Ziggo Sport. “You can see that the team got a lift after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix (last race of the previous season, ed.). In the factory people have worked for a long time and that is now paying off. If you just have a good car , you can really show it and that’s finally the case. This is what you want. ”
The Bahrain Grand Prix starts on Sunday at 5 p.m.
Source site www.nu.nl