Verstappen: Red Bull didn't expect to be this good at Paul Ricard

French Grand Prix polesitter Max Verstappen did not expect Red Bull to score such a strong Formula 1 qualifying result at Paul Ricard, where it has "traditionally" struggled against Mercedes.

Listen to this article

Verstappen picked up his second pole of the 2021 season by edging out Lewis Hamilton for the top spot in qualifying at Paul Ricard on Saturday, ending Mercedes' dominance in the sessions that matter at the French GP since it returned to the F1 calendar in 2018.

He claimed his fifth F1 career pole by 0.258s and later explained that "from FP2 I think we made a good step forwards and basically that continued today".

He added: "Of course, the conditions in FP3 were initially a little bit different [cooler and overcast], but then again it showed in qualifying that we had good pace. So, of course [I'm] very pleased with that. This has traditionally not been an amazing track for us, but to be able to put it on pole here of course we're super happy about that.

"I knew it was going to be better than the last time we were here, but this good? I didn't expect [that]. So, that's of course very promising for us and we just have to keep on going, keep on pushing to try and make it better."

Read Also:

When asked about Red Bull's chances of inflicting a first Mercedes race defeat at Paul Ricard since it re-joined the F1 calendar, Verstappen said of his practice long-run pace: "It felt good yesterday in FP2."

"But, of course, we have to wait and see what the weather will do in the morning [rain has been predicted pre-race]. But I'm quite confident."

The F1 timing screens indicated that Verstappen had gone off track and continued at Turn 2 on both his Q3 runs.

Here, the exit of the track that is not policed for track limits, but does have several large kerbs running almost perpendicular to the circuit behind the normal red/white kerbs at the exit of the corner, which caused damage to the Verstappen's car in FP2 when he ran across the raised kerbs and did likewise to Valtteri Bottas in FP1.

Verstappen was heard asking Red Bull to check his front wing between his Q3 runs, which he said was "just to double check" and was something "I do quite often".

"But I think it was fine," he said of his Turn 2 line in qualifying. "As long as you don't hit those yellow sausages then you're fine. I knew I didn't touch them and just straightaway knew the front wing should be fine."

Verstappen improved by 0.335s on his final Q3 lap, having led the top 10 shootout session after the opening runs.

He said the gain was down to "just general understanding of the track".

"And of course," he added. "We did two runs with the medium in Q2, so then you go out in Q3 on the soft and you're always a tiny bit under the potential in your first run.

"And then on the second run, you know where you left a bit of laptime, so you're just gaining more or less every corner – just a tiny bit. And I think that's where the laptime comes from."

shares
comments

Related video

Leclerc explains front-end struggles behind qualifying "disaster"
Previous article

Leclerc explains front-end struggles behind qualifying "disaster"

Next article

Todt not a fan of sprint qualifying: "I don't think F1 needs it"

Todt not a fan of sprint qualifying: "I don't think F1 needs it"
Load comments
The historic clues that offer hints of Hamilton’s next move Prime

The historic clues that offer hints of Hamilton’s next move

OPINION: Uncertainty over Lewis Hamilton's future has persisted since the race direction call that denied him an eighth world title in Abu Dhabi last month. But while walking away would be understandable, Hamilton has time and again responded well in the face of adversity and possesses all the tools needed to bounce back stronger than ever

What the FIA must do to restore F1's credibility Prime

What the FIA must do to restore F1's credibility

OPINION: The first stage of the 2022 Formula 1 pre-season is just over a month away, but the championship is still reeling from the controversial results of last year’s finale. The FIA acknowledges F1 has had its reputation dented as a result, so here’s how it could go about putting things right

Formula 1
Jan 25, 2022
The six subplots to watch in 2022 as a new F1 era begins Prime

The six subplots to watch in 2022 as a new F1 era begins

As Formula 1 prepares to begin a new era of technical regulations in 2022, We pick out six other key elements to follow this season

Formula 1
Jan 24, 2022
Why newly-retired Kimi Raikkonen won't miss F1 Prime

Why newly-retired Kimi Raikkonen won't miss F1

After 349 grand prix starts, 46 fastest laps, 21 wins and one world championship, Kimi Raikkonen has finally called time on his F1 career. In an exclusive interview with Motorsport.com on the eve of his final race, he explains his loathing of paddock politics and reflects on how motorsport has changed over the past two decades.

Formula 1
Jan 23, 2022
Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shake-up Prime

Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shake-up

Formula 1 cars will look very different this year as the long-awaited fresh rules finally arrive with the stated aim of improving its quality of racing. We break down what the return of 'ground effect' aerodynamics - and a flurry of other changes besides - means for the teams, and what fans can expect

Formula 1
Jan 21, 2022
Why F1's new era is still dogged by its old world problems Prime

Why F1's new era is still dogged by its old world problems

OPINION: The 2022 Formula 1 season is just weeks away from getting underway, but instead of focusing on what is to come, the attention still remains on what has been – not least the Abu Dhabi title decider controversy. That, plus other key talking points, must be resolved to allow the series to warmly welcome in its new era

Formula 1
Jan 20, 2022
The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022 Prime

The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022

Mick Schumacher’s knack of improving during his second season in a championship was a trademark of his junior formula career, so his progress during his rookie Formula 1 campaign with Haas was encouraging. His target now will be to turn that improvement into results as the team hopes to reap the rewards of sacrificing development in 2021

Formula 1
Jan 19, 2022
The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push Prime

The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push

As the driver of Formula 1’s medical car, Alan van der Merwe’s job is to wait – and hope his skills aren’t needed. James Newbold hears from F1’s lesser-known stalwart.

Formula 1
Jan 15, 2022