Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Singapore, 2017

Verstappen sets sights on jumping Vettel at start

2017 Singapore Grand Prix Qualifying

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Max Verstappen says that he is focusing on passing Sebastian Vettel at the start of the Singapore Grand Prix after securing second on the grid.

After both Red Bull drivers were beaten for pole by the Ferrari, Verstappen suggests that the start of the race will be crucial if the team are to win in Singapore.

“During the race it will be difficult to pass him [Vettel], so we’ll have to see on the first lap,” says Verstappen.

“I’ll focus a lot on the start. If not, then you settle for second into turn one and you see what happens during the race. It’s such a long race, a lot of things can happen.”

Despite Red Bull consistently showing strong pace in practice, neither Verstappen or team mate Daniel Ricciardo were able to beat Vettel’s blistering final lap.

“It’s a shame we couldn’t put it on pole,” says Verstappen. “I think the final lap was not quite there, but we were quite close so I’m pretty happy with that.

“He was improving and improving. In Q2, he was close and then in Q3 he made another step, which we also predicted, but we couldn’t react to that. I took quite a bit of risk on my lap and thought it was quite good.”

Having only just missed out on his first career pole position, Verstappen says he is happy with the performance of his RB13 throughout the weekend so far.

“I think we’ve had a good buildup this weekend in general,” says Verstappen. “I’m very pleased. We’ve improved the car and I think that in qualifying, I had the best balance that I had so far in the weekend, which is also very positive.”

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    Will Wood
    Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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    30 comments on “Verstappen sets sights on jumping Vettel at start”

    1. Both red bull cars can do that, they can be aggressive at start as they have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

      1. they have nothing to lose

        I believe the opposite is the case. What they have to lose is their season’s best result.

        1. What is a seasons best result compared to a possible championship with Ferrari? Vettel has alot more to lose and Verstappen is aware of it. I am almost certain Verstappen will go for a kamikaze attack expecting Vettel to give in.

          1. I think Verstappen wants to stay out of trouble for a change especially now that they have the chance to get on the podium. Vettel needs the Red Bull drivers to stay ahead of the Mercedeses. None wants a cutthroat action.

            If Max and Daniel manage to stay close to Sebastian the pit stops are going to be interesting, one running long while the other tries the undercut.

            There is a lot of tension further back.
            Alonso usually has great starts and is poised to win some spots this time. Most likely victims? Hülkenberg and Bottas. Now Nico is a quick starter too just like Valtteri, but Valtteri has the nasty habit of braking early for the first corner, then (on realizing he was early) releasing the brake again when somebody else dives past. There is going to be somebody alongside him this time, if not two.

            1. Spot on. From this starting position Max won’t do any overambitious moves. He knows RB can win this on pace / pit strategy.

            2. @br444m I think Max will do what he always does, The odds for him being timid in the start are very high.

          2. Is there a spot of wishful thinking in here @d0senbrot? This mirrors Hamilton’s comment after qualifying in fifth:

            “Sebastian has Verstappen next to him, so anything can happen at the start.”

            Be careful in what you wish for as wishes may cut both ways! IF Verstappen tries “a kamikaze move”, he could equally well ricochet off the wall into the path of the oncoming numbers three to five and if both Mercs have overtaken a slow-starting Räikkönen, such a wish could as easily turn out to be a 1 – 2 for Ferrari with zero points for Merc and RBR as the hoped-for result…

            1. “Sebastian has Verstappen next to him, so anything can happen at the start.”

              Max already has a Maldonado image in the eye of the current tripple champion…ouch

    2. He has to. It’s the only chance he will get. Both Max and Danny are close on pace, if he doesn’t jump Sen at the start he will end up squabbling with Danny leaving Seb to race off into the distance!

    3. Oh yeah, Vettel, and everybody else in VER’s way for that matter, should be worried, extremely worried. Word has it Verstappen will be drawing inspiration from an earlier belgian-dutch collabo. I’m sure Jos was paying real good attention back then.This 1990s collabo had the following credos:

      Bum stikkie di bum stikkie di bum stikkie di bum
      Take you down to the MAXimum

      and:
      We gonna overdrive ya to the MAXimum
      Rough and tough with your hands on the steering wheel
      The MAXimum overload king of the road

      also:
      Put some pressure upon the gas
      I don’t know how long I’m gonna last

      not forgetting:
      The ultimate ride that takes you to the overdrive
      Remember this only the strong survive

      MAXimum overdriiiiive
      Step on the brakes!!

      1. smoking some really bad stuff it seems..
        Bad habit.

        1. Not Bad Habit, but 2 Unlimited.

    4. They probably need Hamilton to get ahead of Raikkonen to have any chance of doing anything at the pit stops.

      Otherwise, Raikkonen will be right behind them (assuming they’re 2-3) and Ferrari will be able to use him to dictate strategy.

      1. @neilosjames
        Do you really think Raikkonen will keep up with the top three? He hasn’t been on their pace this weekend. The only way I see Raikkonen being involved is it Vettel holds them up, and I can’t see him doing that, he likes to pull a gap.

        1. I agree, Raikkonen will not be able to stick with the top 3 but could be very valuable to Ferrari in holding up Hamilton for a while.

          1. He could be. But he loses a position on pretty much every race start this year. I expect Hamilton will be past him at turn one.

    5. The start will probably end up being Max’s worst of the season and he’ll get swallowed up by Ricciardo and Raikonnen! hopefully not but I don’t expect Vettel to put a foot wrong from Pole.

    6. What a ridiculous click bait headline. Could have just as easily said “Raikonnen looks to jump Red Bulls at the start” or “Vettel looks to defend from Verstappen at the start” or “Hamilton looks to engines blowing up of all four cars in front of him because that’s his only hope in hell at the start”

      1. Can’t really see a problem with the article. It puts across what Verstappen said, in an accurate manner. A click bait headline would be something like…

        “You won’t believe what Verstappen hopes to do on Sunday!”

      2. @spideysteve how is it clickbait? he said that… it’s their only chance and they know it.

        1. Yes, I realize it was a quote. A lot of drivers said a lot of things. They didn’t get headlines.

          1. But they’re not on the front row beside the guy that could regain the WDC lead. Nor have the others been as exciting to watch at the race starts.

    7. Hopefully Max doesn’t take out 2 or 3 cars at the first corner.

      1. Or more in line with this season… I hope Verstappen isn’t taken out by others or reliability issues

      2. It’s funny when you actually count how many cars MV directly took out in these 3 years of F1. Please do. And then count how often he was taken out by other drivers. But that would mean doing some actual research. And the results may not support your case..

    8. Has Max ever raced a strategic race? I don’t recall every race of his (so I could be wrong), but I think he’s usually been tactical. I wouldn’t see that changing in today’s race either.

      1. Well, his strategy is to pass anyone in front as quick as he can. The main tactics are to find a gap and go for it. But other tactics have been applied when he couldn’t defeat the dirty air, like earlier pit stops. At some point he also knows there’s no point to keep trying the same thing and change strategy.

        But I can’t recollect seeing him waiting patiently behind an opponent, hoping their tires would last shorter than his, for instance.

    9. Pope Gregory IX
      17th September 2017, 9:44

      So, Vettel and Verstappen out at the first corner, Ricciardo to win, Hamilton and Bottas 2nd and 3rd, then.

      1. Or Sainz tries another launch to the front like in Canada, takes out 1-10 and Palmer wins. An immediate succes for Renault, but slightly troubling for their future.

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