Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2021

Second place “very good” despite narrowly missing pole – Verstappen

2021 Spanish Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen says securing second on the grid for tomorrow’s Spanish Grand Prix was a “very good” result for Red Bull, given the strength of the Mercedes around the Circuit de Catalunya.

Lewis Hamilton beat Verstappen to pole position by just 0.036s. However the Red Bull driver narrowly beat Valtteri Bottas to split the Mercedes pair and secure a place on the front row of the grid.

“I think second for us here on this track was very good today,” said Verstappen. “We know that they’re hard to beat around here, but to be that close, I can be happy with that.”

Despite missing out from pole by such a narrow margin, Verstappen says he was satisfied with his efforts in qualifying.

“I struggled a little bit in Q1, but I think then we sorted out the balance for Q2, which was pretty good,” explains Verstappen.

“Q3, for me, both laps were pretty decent. I think only the second one was a little bit worse for whatever reason. It’s quite gusty around here. So the wind changes a lot.”

Verstappen believes he has the performance to stay in the hunt for victory in tomorrow’s race, but said managing the tyres through the track’s many long, high-speed corners will be critical.

“It’s a long run to turn one, but of course, first you have to make sure to have a good start,” he said. “And it seems like the pace is there. So of course I hope that we can have a good race as well.

“Around here, with all the fast corners and tyres overheating, tyre management is very important. So we have to make sure that we are on top of that tomorrow.”

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2021 Spanish Grand Prix

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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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31 comments on “Second place “very good” despite narrowly missing pole – Verstappen”

  1. The 0.924s gap to Perez astonishes me and I’m surprised that no one is talking about.

    Almost 1 second quicker than another very good driver in qualifying is just mindblowing and almost Senna-esque

    1. @kingshark Yeah it is insane i would expect 3 tenths in qually between these 2. TBH no redbull driver that joined Max has been close in qually the only one close is the man who was already there. Perez is not known for qually and the fact that he nearly put it on pole in Imola shows what a beast downforce wise Redbull is.

      Reply moderated
    2. Imagine if it was a full second and he had beat the greatest to ever drive, Sir Lewis Hamilton? My brain would have exploded into bits.

    3. Looks like Perez weren´t feeling well through all qualy.

      1. lorrydriver1
        8th May 2021, 17:02

        Checo did not make q3 in his first race. Spun several times in his second race. Spun again in qualifying during his third race and spun again today. It isn’t just about pace but about lack of quality and consistency. Bottas is consistently close to Lewis and sometimes beats him through FP1, FP3 and Qualifying. Whereas Checo is consistently failing to string decent laps together. That works when you are at Pink Mercedes and no one has any expectations especially as you are being benchmarked against Stroll. In fact I would say he is worse than either Gasly or Albon ever where.

    4. Verstappen has been a second faster than all his team-mates since Ricciardo.
      What’s the surprise? It’s been plainly obvious for years who Red Bull are prioritising the design of their cars for.

      1. lorrydriver1
        8th May 2021, 17:05

        The surprise is the Checo fanboys told us he would give Max a run for his money. They told us he would beat Bottas “easily”. They told us he was a “tyre wizard”..when will RB put Albon back in the car for FP sessions?

        Reply moderated
      2. It’s been plainly obvious for years who Red Bull are prioritising the design of their cars for.

        Hey look, another armchair expert who knows nothing about F1. A lot of them walking around nowadays.

        1. Can you walk whilst in an armchair? “Sitting around” surely?

        2. Verstappen deserves his props, no doubt! Mindblowingly fast! Just not 100 PP fast.

          1. Ricciardo and Leclerc are fast, but they are not 57 pole positions fast.

            Oh wait…

            Statistics in F1 are unfortunately quite meaningless.

      3. Exactly. The car is difficult for other drivers, not for him. It gives him exactly what he needs.
        Just like it was with Vettel there. Webber had his worse seasons when Vettel had his best. Why is that?
        The car obviously was developed with Vettel’s priorities in mind and Webber had to make do with what he had.

        And the youngsters here finding Max the “once in a lifetime” drive because of that.

      4. ColdFly (@)
        8th May 2021, 18:27

        The ignorance of thinking that car characteristics determine 1s at this level of racing drivers.
        And then doubling that ignorance if suggesting that a team should develop its car to the liking of the slower driver, or even the average of both.

        Do you really think Mercedes is prioritising the preferences of Bottas when developing their car?

        1. He didn’t beat Perez by 1 sec at the other tracks, and only did so today because perez spun, then had to do his lap when the track was visibly slower, and besides that, Perez always said his main difficulty with the car is ultimate pace, so i don’t know where you’re aiming at and why.

        2. @coldfly your comment is more ignorant about the whole team, if you dont mind criticism?

          1) Team can develop a car with a more experienced driver if the other is a rookie, however, if both are equally experienced, they take note of both drivers and weigh the inputs.
          2) Mercedes develop a car for neither driver’s preference, they have their own goals, however they set up and change certain aspects of the car with inputs from either driver and see what works best, and combine them after trials!

          3) “The ignorance of thinking that car characteristics determine 1s at this level of racing drivers.” With redbul, this ignorance is a reality unfortunately, and they do prioritize to 1s requests! Vet-Web, Max-Ric, Max-Gas, Max-Per- we shall see…

          4) RedBul, does have clear preference from the get go, and allows all sorts of shenanigans with their fav boy, and punish or tell off or prevent other from doing anything about it!

          5) If you dont believe that is not happening, or the clear possibility of it happening in broad day light, that is really ignorance i m afraid!

          1. @mysticus
            Your nonsense theory has already been debunked

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6q0ZswxA4Y

          2. Webber and Ric disagrees with these so called analysts albeit biased ones.

          3. ColdFly (@)
            8th May 2021, 23:09

            I don’t mind criticism mystic one, but you clearly ‘missed this one’.
            1) indeed. so what;
            2) keep on dreaming. They are not that stupid, and will prioritise where possible on Lewis’ preferences;
            3) car characteristics do never amount to 1s difference between 2 capable drivers, it will be a couple of 1/10th at the most. These are the best in the world (+NM)
            4) developing a car that suits your best driver (like all teams do) is not ‘shenanigans’
            5) you clearly missed my point. I actually confirm it happens at RBR (and many other teams); it is just not worth 1s/lap. If the gap is 1s then it also involves some driver skills/luck/damage, not just the direction of car development.
            You might not like Verstappen, and you might not even believe he is close to Hamilton, but the gap to his team mates is much more than just a car that suits him.

          4. @mysticus
            Please give me quotes where Ricciardo specifically said that Red Bull design the car around Verstappen? Also, you are delusional if you think that Mercedes give Bottas equal priority to Hamilton.

            You want to moan about favouritism, but as far as I’m aware, Verstappen has never won a race like Russia 2018. When Red Bull disgrace themselves like that, then you can cry about favouritism.

          5. @kingshark
            https://www.racefans.net/2018/06/30/ricciardo-accuses-red-bull-of-unfair-treatment-after-radio-row-in-qualifying/

            https://senatus.net/article/mark-webber-furious-untransparent-and-unequal-treatment/

            there are many articles and obvious consensus about these discussion, only team boss denies it while constantly blaming unfav boys…

            Take your head out of the sand sometimes…

            “you are delusional if you think that Mercedes give Bottas equal priority to Hamilton.” really? How is Bottas or Nico were able to consistently beat ham in qualifying? While in redbull it is never the case? is it because they always find a beast of a driver? ummm i ll let you think on that…

          6. @coldfly

            1) So you claim every team puts their eggs in one basket? yeah, makes total sense, just because your fav/preferred team does it…
            2) Refer to point 1 again…
            3) Why does it so in every RedBull team up, up until now? but not the case in other teams? here is my quote from post above “How is Bottas or Nico were able to consistently beat ham in qualifying? While in redbull it is never the case? is it because they always find a beast of a driver? ummm i ll let you think on that…” please let that sink in…
            4) If it is based on your dream/ideals, yes it is!
            5a) “you clearly missed my point. I actually confirm it happens at RBR (and many other teams); it is just not worth 1s/lap. If the gap is 1s then it also involves some driver skills/luck/damage, not just the direction of car development.”

            Yeah i actually see your whole point, but dont understand your conflicting messages? If they are developing a car for fav driver, than why is it hard to imagine the car is undriveable for the other, why claim it is skills or luck or damage? Why they hire another driver who from your comment reads as redbull cant find a match for max skilled driver and complains about its drivers and replace them mid season? they just find excusable drivers who lacks skill luck and unfortunate damages to them… makes total sense now

            5b) “You might not like Verstappen, and you might not even believe he is close to Hamilton, but the gap to his team mates is much more than just a car that suits him.”

            I never said that in my comment that i dont like Ver, however i used to hate him previously but he matured quite a bit, even though he still has some silly behaviour time to time, but much better and enjoyable character than before. I never claimed he is not close to Ham either. You started putting words in my mouth … Not sure thats constructive or …

          7. @mysticus

            How is Bottas or Nico were able to consistently beat ham in qualifying? While in redbull it is never the case? is it because they always find a beast of a driver? ummm i ll let you think on that…

            Webber’s qualifying record against Vettel was actually fine, pretty comparable to Bottas against Hamilton actually, so your point is invalid.

            As for Verstappen, why does he almost never get outqualified? Because he’s just that good. The explanation is fairly simple.

            You are in denial because the idea of Verstappen just being that good makes you uncomfortable, so you’d rather start some nonsense conspiracy theories.

          8. @kingshark i was delusional and now i m in denial :) whatever rocks your boat… just get that tinfoil replaced time to time…

  2. What a quali. Finally mercedes got some fighting for the pole. Hope that tomorrow will be tight race. I’m already enjoying this season much much more than last 4 years.

    1. ColdFly (@)
      8th May 2021, 18:29

      qualifying 2nd isn’t that great in Barcelona if your team mate is starting from 8th.

  3. Another good example of why people basically calling Bottas a bum is ridiculous. If he wasn’t a very good driver we’d see embarrassing quali gaps to Hamilton. I’d still like to see George there to see if he can put up a real challenge. The gap to Perez is also another example of why it annoys me when people say the RBR is the fastest car in the field. Yeah right…

    1. So you think the Red Bull is the 5th fastest car and Verstappen is overdriving it to take the fight to Mercedes? Is that it?

      I wonder how dishonest one has to be to take a very bad showing by Perez to suggest that car isn’t on par with Mercedes even when losing pole for details and mistakes by Max, like in Portugal.

      1. When did I say fifth fastest car? I said not the fastest car in the field, which I think is clearly still the Mercedes. I think Sergio’s qualifying performance gaps to Bottas will eventually be a good benchmark for the outright pace difference in the cars.

  4. with all the fast corners and tyres overheating, tyre management is very important.

    never happy to read these kind of things..
    Racing should be exiting until the last lap. Of course tires a part of the equation but they should last untill the end of their tracklife. And only then drop off.

    1. Then stop watching endurance racing and start watching sprint racing if that’s what you want. Why does everyone want f1 to turn into the same as 90% of all other racing series- if that’s what you want, just go watch them. If you’re only here for Max, there’s a reason max is here and not in touring cars, he likes the unique and special mix of racing disciplines that f1 covers, disciplines not covered in many other sports. He likes that he is central to the development of the car, he likes that it’s a tactical and strategic contest as well as a racing contest. I get it, you’re new and can’t appreciate why f1 is so special, but if you don’t like it, watch something you do actually like.

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