Verstappen frustrated to miss pole as crashes disrupt “stupid” qualifying session

2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen expressed his frustration after missing out on a chance to take pole position due to red flags for the second race in a row.

The Red Bull driver set competitive sector times earlier in qualifying. But he had to abandon his final qualifying effort after the fourth red flag of the session.

The championship leader will therefore start third on the grid behind championship rival Lewis Hamilton.

“It was a stupid qualifying, to be honest,” says Verstappen. “But anyway, it is what it is.”

Verstappen’s qualifying preparation was disrupted after he crashed midway through the morning’s final practice session at turn 15. His Red Bull team able to fix his car in time for qualifying.

“We’re still P3. We have a good car. I think it was a good recovery from FP3, of course,” says Verstappen.

“I think everything was working out fine, but yeah. And all this shit is happening all the time. Yeah, I don’t care. It’s just unfortunate, but it’s a street circuit, so these things can happen.”

Despite losing out to Hamilton in qualifying, the championship leader says it will be “all to play for” during tomorrow’s race.

“Like I say, our car is strong so I just hope that tomorrow in the race we can look after our tyres and score good points,” he says.

“We’re still up there. Of course I would’ve liked to start a bit further ahead, but it’s still all to play for. You can see in qualifying, a lot of things are happening – so maybe in the race, these things can happen again. Let’s hope for a bit of a clean start and we’ll see from there.”

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Verstappen’s radio from the end of Q3

LambiaseRed flag, Max, red flag.
VerstappenThis is so painful, man on a street circuit, al lthe time, these stupid red flags in Q3.
VerstappenYeah of course, yeah, fucking hell. Unbelievable. Anyway.
VerstappenWhat position is that?
LambiaseP3
LambiaseFor what it’s worth you were purple sector one, sector two, and I don’t believe you had the tow that Hamilton or Leclerc had.
VerstappenYeah. What can you do about it? Fucking shitshow all the time like this in Q3.
HornerYeah don’t worry about it, Max, it’s tomorrow where the points are, you’ll be fine tomorrow.
VerstappenGuys I wanted to say thanks for repairing the car, that was again a great effort.
LambiaseI’m sure they’ll appreciate that, Max.

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2021 Azerbaijan 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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51 comments on “Verstappen frustrated to miss pole as crashes disrupt “stupid” qualifying session”

  1. Do a better lap, Max, and stop moaning. The RB was the best car here. Merc a lot closer than they let on, but you have no real excuses.

    1. Well we had to listen to Hamilton moan for a whole weekend so I don’t think this is too bad of a reaction after pole gets decided on who lucks out amidst red flags and random tows

      1. lexusreliability?
        5th June 2021, 19:32

        @paeschli

        You have jokes. Hamilton was pointing out the obvious struggles the Merc’s been having the past two weekends. Quite a world away from having the best car, bottling it and blaming “straights” and “red flags”. Next thing you know Max will be blaming the track, the timing screens and the tarmac.

        1. Ahaha, blaming the tarmac, that’s funny!

        2. Except Hamilton has been doing that since his first few weekends in F1, and he’s typically been in either the best or very nearly the best car since those first few weekends.

    2. @hahostolze he’s never going to stop moaning – he’s an F1 driver! But I agree he should have done a better lap on his first run. It’s been part of qualifying for as long as I can remember, the whole risk-reward balance of doing a banker lap or laying it all on the line for the last run when the track will be at its best.

      At a street circuit there’s a lot to be said for doing a banker lap.

      1. His lap looked pretty good to me, it’s just that the two drivers in front got a good tow.

        1. @paeschli
          Leclerc was mighty quick on sector 2 which has nothing to do with the slipstream.

  2. Max and Red Bull… learn that you have to make your first laps count given how sensitive the tyres are and the championship situation. That’s three now this season.

    1. @krichelle yep and go out first. They handed advantage to Ferrari again. Leclerc was happy to be the first out and control the situation. Smart.

    2. Absolutely right, these things are all adding up and giving an advantage to Hamilton and Mercedes – which they’ll be sure to exploit as much as they can. Verstappen and Red Bull haven’t been making the most of their qualifying sessions so far.

    3. Exactly! I couldnt believe what I say today. Such an amateur mistake. Again. The team really needs to step up a notch against experienced WCC Mercedes. This is inadequate Christian!

  3. Baku crasher complains about Baku crashes.

    1. Now try to say that out loud.

    2. Where exactly did you see that he complained for the crashes? He mentioned the red flag rule in Q3. If you read something different on this article, point it to us also, so we can see it. But wait, on this case it’s not “get off your tin-foil hat” or “stop the hatred” and we are supposed to accept this. OMG, this site has gone really low of quality.

      1. Have to agree with this unfortunately, but happens everywhere.

      2. he doesn’t even remember that Baku 2017 for him was a mechanical failure.

  4. What a disappointing job by RedBull having the strongest car all weekend. 🤦‍♂️😖 Dreadful!

  5. The tow is just very powerful here, so P3 without one is pretty decent.

  6. Stop making excuses. He had the car to be on pole today and at the last race and at every race this season. Hope he doesn’t make stupid errors and crash into Lec or Ham.

    1. While yes, you get the feeling verstappen could on paper have been on pole on all races so far, I’d say this qualifying session was advantage ferrari, if you look at the average time: the best red bull driver barely beat the worst ferrari driver, then the best ferrari driver demolished the worst red bull, and I would consider mercedes 3rd car this qualifying session.

  7. I don’t want to be super critical with Verstappen because he’s still beating his teammate comfortably but somehow he lost his way a bit in qualifying. He kind of had the reputation of always (over)delivering and getting the maximum out of the car in the past. This season however he could have been on pole on every venue bar Portimao but got pole only once.
    And today it was not bad luck. He had his one shot like anybody else and was well positioned behind Perez.

    1. Correction : including Portimao.

    2. How could he have got Barcelona pole? I say he could have got 4 poles. Bahrain, Imola, Monaco, Baku

      1. With that IMO correct caveat from Sumedh, I do see your point @roadrunner, I put it down to Red Bull having gotten out of being a real championship contender and Verstappen haven’t done it for real in F1, where not consistent performance is the thing needed, rather than opportunistic getting chances to shine when they come as in previous years.

        I can’t put it solely to Verstappen, as surely he decides together with experienced, championship winning engineers, but it does feel like they haven’t maximised opportunities. Still, for now ahead in the championships, so it’s not a bad job, but it might not be enough.

        PS. clearly Hamilton and Mercedes haven’t done a perfect job either, which helps, but look how after yesterday now HAM is ahead on the grid, that’s what the real fight seems to be.

      2. Agreed that in Portimao as well as in Barcelona the Mercedes was the better car but the margin was so small that the Max Verstappen of last year might have stolen them with a perfect lap.
        Remember, in Portimao he even set the fastest lap which was deleted.

        1. Actually yeah, Portimao was lost due to track limits. Yep, he could have got that.

          May be I can forgive him for Monaco as Ferrari was genuinely very quick there.

          Still, 1 out of 4 poles is not a good return for Max.

        2. True that, agree verstappen of last year would’ve got the portimao pole.

      3. Sumedh, there was a difference of only 0.036s between Verstappen and Hamilton in Barcelona – are you saying that it would be impossible to overcome that gap?

    3. that is absolutely true. he did get a tow. i think his engineer was just trying to cheer him up by insinuating that the tow made all that difference which was misleading to us viewers . the truth is they just lack top speed.

      Reply moderated
  8. This guy is never leaving this team. They treat him like a king, look at this exchanges.

    It is what it is, P3. It doesn’t matter if he was purple sector here or there, or if he didn’t got a tow, but they still have to cheer him up for losing every pole he loses after all this time with the team, so, almost every race.

  9. How about this. Everyone who is on the track as the incident happens in front of them and is charging for positions, will get five minutes bonus after the track is clear again.

    1. That’s roughly what I’d have done too.

  10. I’m also frustrated by this red flag situation. The results doesn’t justify the fastest drivers. The race can be more excited, but the idea of qualifying is gone.

    1. So who in particular? LeClerc has been on it all weekend and got the tow. Ham found a sweet spot and got a bit of a tow, with many arguing he has the best car at all times in all conditions, Max had an unhindered run and could have had a tow if he wanted, but maybe took it easy following his P3 crash, and Gasly has been on it all weekend.
      And over time a yellow flag has caused more aborted last laps than the red.

      1. and if you check Q1, apart from Perez, the front of the grid were at the front of that session as well

        1. I believe that Perez, Sainz, Verstappen, Leclerc could improve their time and would be higher then Hamilton. His reaction explains it basically, p2 was a surprise. But maybe I’m wrong, still I don’t like that others faults impact the rest in such that it influences the out come of a qualifying.

          1. So throughout Q1, Q2 and the first run all those you name were coasting, except Hamilton who would have gone slower in the last run despite setting fast times with no tow and riding the sausage kerb in the last sector previously? That’s quite a reach. Noting that both LeClerc and Max had a tow in the first runs as well as Ham.
            And you surely stretching to think Ham was referring to red flag for his happiness. Or did you ignore what happened during practice and what Ham said about why he was happy?
            So to sum up, your position is all those who were fast in qualifying would get faster; except Hamilton, who would get slower?

          2. Nah, I think hamilton would’ve only lost place to verstappen, who seemed to be on track for pole with that lap, maybe sainz could’ve challenged him, I think ferrari was really strong that qualifying, leclerc was already ahead, so no point, and perez no way.

  11. 1 pole position in that car is hilarious tbh.

    Reply moderated
  12. Verstappen really should have had pole on pretty much every circuit. Yet staggeringly he got only one pole this season. Maybe he finally realizes that having the fastest car is not enough. Especially since two drivers in the second fastest car have two poles each. The trick is putting in the lap when it matters.

    1. Sweetheart, you came out of your little cave and you are here again? WOW! Not expected at all. LOL.

      1. I don’t side with him regarding Max, but come on, would I ever bother him out of the blue?

    2. Calling mercedes 2nd fastest is a stretch, they’re about similar, mercedes having the edge in the race and red bull quali.

  13. lexusreliability?
    5th June 2021, 19:35

    Someone give this overhyped boy racer his dummy, he’s spat it out.

    Best car by a mile and should have stuck in on pole

  14. Max is a hell of a driver, bu I’m starting to think Leclerc is the better one when it comes to one lap pace. One pole out of 6 opportunities driving the best car is a little bit disappointing to say the least. If Leclerc was driving that car I’m pretty sure he would have at least 4 or 5 poles.

    1. Yes, leclerc seems to be stronger in qualifying than verstappen, no doubt, however in the race verstappen should be better, more experienced.

  15. Max crashed in practice. Practice. Yet he’s annoyed other drivers crashes in Q3 trying to get their best possible position in the race.

  16. Thank you for another good topic article.

    However, I am surprised that there has, as far as I have read in the comments, no mention of the close to useless tyres that the F.I.A. (and maybe Pirelli as well) demand for Formula One in these modern times. Having soft tyres that cannot last more than three or so laps in qualifying is beyond belief.

    With my daily runner motor car, I do not have to worry about the condition of my high-priced Continentals, after a visit to the shops. My car did have a set of Pirellis fitted, chosen because that tyre company is involved in Formula One, however, having seen and read about the current tyre situation in Formula One, I opted for another quality brand.

    Having seen photos of Turn 15 where a number of cars came to grief, it appears to be justice that the mass of advertising boards are all Pirelli branded! Some sort of justice?

    So, why no comments about the rubbish tyres that the drivers have to contend with?

  17. His complaining is getting seriously grating and is a sign of a major weakness as this anger will likely upset him in a critical moment of a championship battle

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