Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Interlagos, 2018

Verstappen: Starting on hyper-softs not “negative”

2018 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen says he isn’t necessarily at a disadvantage by being the only driver among the top three teams to start the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on hyper-soft tyres.

His team mate Daniel Ricciardo, plus the Mercedes and Ferrari drivers, got through Q2 using the harder ultra-soft compound which is expected to be the better tyre from a strategic point of view. But Verstappen believes he can make an advantage from his situation.

“A the moment I don’t see it as a negative because they’ll be worried that I’ll start under-cutting them,” he said. “And at least we have two cars on two different tyres so we can do different things.”

Red Bull haven’t struggled as much on the hyper-soft tyres as their rivals have. “I was quite alright on the hypers in the long runs,” said Verstappen. “We’ll just have to wait and see what’s going to happen tomorrow. So far I don’t have too much of an issue.”

However he is pessimistic that he will be able to overtake the cars ahead as readily as he did in Brazil. “First of all I think this track is a bit different to Brazil,” he explained.

“You can’t really follow that well because the corners are not made for it. In Brazil you can do different lines and end up in a similar position. Here’s it’s all 90 degrees, you can only do one line.”

Verstappen explained his angry radio message at the end of qualifying after abandoning his final effort at a timed lap.

“It’s just a natural reaction. I lost the car, went off. I was just disappointed I couldn’t finish that lap. I think it’s just the heat of the moment. Afterwards it’s all good.

“It was just not our qualifying, I could feel it straight away that I was sliding too much. And of course you keep on trying, it’s not working, and then I went off.”

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Verstappen’s qualifying team radio

Before his final run in Q3 Verstappen told his team “we have to find a way of keeping the rear tyre temps under control”. But as soon as he left the pits to begin his effort he found the tyres were already too warm, and he abandoned the lap after going off:

Verstappen:These tyres are really warm out of the box.
To Verstappen:They’re still in a good window, they’re still in a very good window.
Verstappen:No, fuck what a fucking disaster. Unbelievable.
To Verstappen:Look out for Kimi behind, 10 seconds to Kimi behind.
Verstappen:Can I box?
To Verstappen:You can box.
Verstappen:Yeah mate already out of the box the tyres are just too hot. You can say they are not in the pit window but I’m just having to cool them down.
To Verstappen:Box

Afterwards Verstappen explained his tyres were “a bit hot – I think they were too hot already before, then I went out of the box and they were even warmer.

“So then I had to slow down even more, but then you can’t heat up your brakes like you want to into turn one. It all got a bit compromised.”

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 13 comments on “Verstappen: Starting on hyper-softs not “negative””

    1. it’s going to be interesting to see whether he can use the grip advantage he has over the rest of the top-6 runners on the start to his advantage and overtake maybe a couple of them into T1 or not.

      1. Judging by his sense of frustration there is an entirely different but just as likely T1 scenario. @jerejj

        1. @hohum
          Are you thinking what I’m thinking?

          1. @krxx, I think you’re thinking I’m thinking what you’re thinking and I think you’re thinking right.

            1. Based on various previous races I expect Verstappen will overtake Ricciardo in the first few laps… like he did at least 8 times before over the last two season.
              Though you might want to suggest something different, this, based on previous races is most likely to happen

            2. @hohum

              Matn, you’re right. The other 32 times it was RIC overtaking VER.

        2. Well, he found the first Q3 set was too hot, asked for the next set to be cooler but they were in fact 5 degrees hotter right out of the pits… Somebody turned the dials the wrong way?
          It also takes a relatively long time for them to cool down, more than he practically had.

          Both Q2 sets were also hotter than he liked. But he really pampered his Q2 hypers so they should still be good for the race.
          The Q2 set temperatures could have been just a bad guess, but for Q3 they surely should have gotten them right.

        3. @hohum Yes, there indeed is.

    2. I know tyre management has always been part of racing, no need to remind me. But at this point we should stop calling this sport “F1 racing” and use “tyre window riding lottery” instead.

      1. Except the tyres are not really a lottery. They’re the same for all teams and it’s the teams and drivers job to get them to work. Red Bull are currently the best team at doing that.

        1. @juan-fanger, it seems more likely that people will call them “a lottery” when their favourite driver does not do well – but when their favourite driver does do well, then then ascribe it to skill instead.

      2. welcome aboard @hyoko

    3. the start will be a disaster, Crashstapen will hit Vettel , Vettel -Bottas, and a lots will finish the race before the first corner, because of too more grip

    Comments are closed.