Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Imola, 2021

“It was a scrappy lap and I haven’t had that in a long time” – Verstappen

2021 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix

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Red Bull’s Max Verstappen says the “scrappy lap” that cost him Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix pole was a rare moment for him where he didn’t make the most of the car.

Going into qualifying, Verstappen enjoyed a pace advantage of over half a second over Mercedes from practice.

But he went slower than the lead Mercedes driver, as well as his Red Bull team mate Sergio Perez, in all three segments of qualifying and ended up qualifying in third place behind Lewis Hamilton and Perez.

“It felt alright in FP3,” explained Verstappen. “And just in qualifying, you change tyres from soft to medium, trying to put your lap in, and it was all coming along nicely. But then in Q3, the final run, I just didn’t have a good lap.

“I went off in turn three with two wheels. I know that Honda makes good lawnmowers, but I don’t think this one is suited for that. At least I tried.

“But yeah, it was just really a scrappy lap and I haven’t had that in a long time. So just need to understand why that happened.”

Verstappen was just 0.087s seconds shy of pole position, and only 0.052s slower than Perez who admitted he also made a mistake that cost him pole.

“Nevertheless, I think we were very close so that’s positive,” Verstappen added. “And like Checo said we have two cars close to Lewis on different tyres so hopefully that will give some excitement tomorrow.”

While Verstappen and the Mercedes pair will start Sunday’s race on Pirelli’s medium compound tyre, Perez had to resort to the soft tyre in Q2 to ensure he made the top 10 in qualifying and as a result will start the grand prix on that compound.

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2021 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix

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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...
Elliot Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching Photography back in the UK. Currently based...

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12 comments on ““It was a scrappy lap and I haven’t had that in a long time” – Verstappen”

  1. No two ways about it, Max blew it, and wow what a great thing for SP to be where he is. Should still come down to LH and Max I would think as SP will have to pit sooner. Would be great if SP could take LH in turn one on those reds though. Maybe even open an avenue for Max to sneak in too. Going to be such an exciting start.

  2. Yeah it was a bit of a scrappy lap indeed. I do wonder, did Perez being so close give spur him on to try and take more out of the car, thinking that there has to be more there, given both their quali records? Then again, it’s not as if he’s not been challenged in quali by fighting with the Mercedes’ and in previous years, Ferrari cars.

  3. It happens. Learn from it, move on.

    1. Nerves due to being hyped as the prime championship contender?

  4. To topple the best, it isn’t just about the car, you have to perform when it matters. Hopefully Max will now actually have pressure on him and can he perform whilst under it?

    Great job Checo…

  5. Will be interesting to see how he handles the pressure of a title fight. The past few years have been zero pressure for him with no teammate to challenge him but also not having a car to regularly fight for wins. Now with a race winning car he’s expected to win.

  6. One thing Lewis is good at,… Delivering the goods when he is the favourite to win it.

    Verstappen right now is in position to rake in wins we all knew he was capable of. Put capability does not equal achievement.

    1. @jureo
      Indeed.
      Having the best overall equipment doesn’t automatically translate into winning, and Maxi should probably learn to do this himself, before attacking Hamilton.

  7. Really smooth with the Honda lawn mower plug.

  8. “But yeah, it was just really a scrappy lap and I haven’t had that in a long time”

    Humblebragging

  9. Funny, Maxi had always implied Hamilton got it easy because he had the better car, yet he seems to mess things up a little too frequently when he is the one with the best equipment.
    Mind it Turkey 2020 and Bahrain 2020.

    1. I love Real Madrid to death.

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