Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Imola, 2021

Verstappen rues ‘s*** lap’ after missing out on a front-row start

2021 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen described his final attempt in qualifying for the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix as “messy” as he was out-qualified by team mate Sergio Perez.

The Red Bull driver had been sitting in a provisional second place before the end of Q3, but failed to improve his time on his final attempt after running wide and onto the grass in the Variante Tamburello chicane. Verstappen then lost his front-row starting position to Perez.

Verstappen immediately described his final effort as a “shit lap” to his team over the radio, saying he had gone off at Tamburello. It is the first time he has been beaten by a team mate in qualifying since the 2019 Canadian Grand Prix.

“It was not so good in Q3,” says Verstappen. “I went off in turn three, so a bit messy. So just not a good lap. But you can’t be good every time.

“We’ll see what went wrong but it was definitely not the easiest in Q3. But still, third is a good starting position.”

In a reversal to the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, two Red Bulls will line up behind a single Mercedes in the front three places on the grid. Valtteri Bottas, who set the pace on Friday, could only manage eighth on the grid.

Verstappen says that the team will try to make life “difficult” for pole sitter Lewis Hamilton, as team mate Perez ahead is starting on a different tyre compound.

“It’s going to be interesting,” says Verstappen. “We have the two cars on different tyre compounds, so let’s see how that will work out. We’ll try to make it difficult for them.”

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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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16 comments on “Verstappen rues ‘s*** lap’ after missing out on a front-row start”

  1. The different tyre strategy won’t work if the forecast rain arrives for the start of the race.

    1. still two redbulls to fight. The same situation Verstappen had to endure last year almost every race.
      Interesting to watch.

    2. But still strategic options with 2 against 1.

  2. And he said in the past that he only needed the right car to dominate.
    He’s got the fastest one. Sounds like it isn’t enough.

    1. He’s driving a brand new car with very limited testing. If he’s making the same mistakes halfway into this season, then your suggestion would hold more merit.

  3. lexusreliabilty?
    17th April 2021, 15:52

    Put Hamilton in that Red Bull and he would have walked it today. If Perez, who isn’t known for his 1 lap pace can get
    that close in a frankly faster car, imagine what Lewis would do. Max got a wake up call too- much needed after the 3rd tier team mates he’s had that frankly had made him think he was as good as his hype.

    1. If someone stills thinks Verstappen is only a hype you have missed a lot of races ;)

      1. lexusreliability?
        17th April 2021, 16:42

        If you still think that Verstappen’s talents match his hype you clearly have a poster of him on your wall that I will leave the rest to imagination.

    2. Well, it certainly shows why top teams need 2 good drivers, right.

    3. That’s funny after he didn’t have a good qualifying and Verstappen had a top lap last race. We’ll just pretend it didn’t happen shall we..

    4. Hamilton is not a match to Verstapen. Verstapen did manage to pass him and win races in the past with worse cars and dance around Hamilton when it rains. Just a reminder.

  4. This season is looking to be very intriguing……

  5. Didn’t manage the overtake in Bahrain. Didn’t manage the lap today.
    Never mind. Let us allow Max these two shortcomings.
    Max can and will make up for them.

  6. People need to calm down a bit on Max. If this continues throughout the whole season, you’ll have a point, but we’re just one weekend + one qualifying session in. Hamilton has had some pretty questionable starts to seasons (2016, 2017, 2018, etc.) where he just hasn’t looked at his best, but gone on to dominate. But we are not even 5% of the way into the season, and 95% of the still remains. Max hasn’t been clinical enough so far, but it could all change.

    1. @mashiat Exactly. Some technical issues for both RBR’s in the first weekend, and now they sit 2 & 3 for the start after Max missed out on FP2. And they are going up against the reigning benchmark dominant Mercedes where LH has been engrained for starting is 8th season and for whom most everyone has predicted they’ll sort themselves and go on and dominate this year again. But suddenly folks are talking like Max in the start of his first season in what looks like might finally be a car to challenge LH/Mercedes, is throwing it away. After one race weekend and one quali.

      Other side of the coin, given RBR’s pace as supported by Perez’s great performance today, it remains close in spite of whatever Mercedes did in the last three weeks to sort their car. They were ‘surprised’ to get pole. Mercedes remains the benchmark until someone can prove otherwise over the entire season. I’m absolutely chuffed for the position Max is in to at least give it a good go this season. The LH/Mercedes dynasty is quite the mountain to climb.

      1. @robbie I agree with you. In a 23-race season especially, every small mistake counts for a bit less, and the winner of the title will likely be whoever was able to win more races over the season. Even if Hamilton were to win tomorrow and Max finish 2nd, a 14-point gap with 21 races left is nothing. The title battle, as much as it may not fit in the Verstappen vs. Hamilton narrative, will likely be down to Red Bull’s engineers vs Mercedes’ engineers. Over the course of a season, I don’t expect either Verstappen or Hamilton to be so much better than the other that the person with the 2nd fastest car will win the title.

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