Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Red Bull Ring, 2021

Verstappen frustrated with Red Bull tactics after almost towing Norris to pole

2021 Austrian Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen said the final stage of qualifying was “pretty bad” despite taking pole position for the Austrian Grand Prix.

The Red Bull driver was unhappy with his team’s tactics after being sent out at the front of the pack for his final run, which meant he did not benefit from the slipstream of any car ahead.

“I think Q3 was pretty bad,” said Verstappen after taking his third pole position in a row. “I’m of course happy to be first but not the way we got it. Something to look into.

“But to be twice on pole nevertheless here is very good. Hopefully we can finish it off tomorrow.”

Verstappen did not celebrate his fourth pole position of the year on the radio, telling his team “we will never, ever do that again, to go as first” after taking the chequered flag.

“That was P1 but we’ll talk about it later,” he added after race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase and team principal Christian Horner congratulated him on his pole position.

“With Max he’s always looking for that little bit more,” Horner told Sky afterwards. “I think he felt there was more in the car today.

“He had a slight lock-up on the first run so we wanted to give him clean air for the last run. That meant he ended up at the front of queue.

“When you’re at the front of the queue you’re creating the hole in the air. And that gave Lando just behind him a slight tow. That’s what he was frustrated about at the end there.

“Nonetheless a phenomenal performance and to have Checo up there as well ahead of the Mercedes is a great team result.”

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2021 Austrian Grand Prix

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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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19 comments on “Verstappen frustrated with Red Bull tactics after almost towing Norris to pole”

  1. Just be glad you finally have a wingman who can help in the fight Max. ;P

    1. LOL @nullapax – though if Norris makes same choice as what worked for him last race, that’s just Perez right?

  2. So that’s what Verstappen was frustrated about, yeah, I can see why they did it but equally it is clear why he wasn’t happy with it (and also helps explain a bit how Norris got quite so close, even when that was clearly a great lap from Lando, yet again).

  3. I used to wonder what made Hamilton and to a lesser extent Vettel so whiney even when winning. Clearly, it’s the WDC pressure.

    1. I read a Dutch quote from Verstappen on this. He clearly explains it’s his perfectionism that makes him critical of the tactics. He’s happy with pole but felt that Red Bull took unnecessary risks. That sounds like sportsmanship to me rather than unwanted pressure.

      1. Anon A. Mouse
        4th July 2021, 6:04

        It can sound like either depending on which side of the fence you (the general you) sit on, but not always. We shouldn’t pretend like there’s no pressure fighting for and/or leading the WDC, there clearly is. When you’re behind you want to be ahead, when you’re ahead you want to stay there, and there’s pressure either way.

  4. Is this where we say Max should just stop whining and get on with it?
    Or do we accept that those at the level of Max, Ham, Senna, Prost, etc, never stop in their quest to extract every inch out of a situation?

    1. Lopes da Silva
      3rd July 2021, 16:35

      People can’t differentiate a winner trying to improve even more of a loser making up excuses.

      1. So given Hamiltons %age wins during the Mercedes years, he clearly doesn’t whine as much as some claim then.

    2. He’s right to be perfectionist. You dont win a tight WDC without maximising your chances. Seeing him first on the track looked rather amateur hour, dont recall seeing the championship leader be the one to punch the hole before.

      This was clearly a bad tactic from the team, maybe they got a bit too cocky, which might bite them in other weekend if done again.

  5. Can you imagine this comments section if Lewis whined like Max did, after getting a pole? When Max does it then he’s lauded as a “perfectionist” and “always looking to extract everything”.

    It’s not even subtle anymore.

    1. To each their due

      1. Coventry Climax
        3rd July 2021, 23:19

        To each their dude.

    2. Anon A. Mouse
      4th July 2021, 6:07

      It never was particularly subtle.

  6. He could be correct from his point of view, there was more time to gain for him. But I wouldn’t bet against RBR planning the tow for Norris to let him leap both Mercs. In the end he didn’t need the time but now they do have Norris between them. If Norris does what he did last week it could mean an easy 10s buffer to Hamilton before the stop. ..

  7. So uncool to be unhappy with that. If he gets upset with this, you know he’ll explode once things get worse and that’s a weakness.

    1. No – he is correct. It was stupid to put him out there in front of the rest of the field when he could have been getting a tow from Perez.
      It won’t happen again because it was stupid strategy.

      Reply moderated
    2. Coventry Climax
      3rd July 2021, 23:27

      Mwah. There is a difference between accepting you maximized what you have but not end on pole, and ending up on pole, but knowing you have not maximized what you have.
      That difference might even prove to be the difference between getting the WDC or not, this year. There’s not as much room for error as Mercedes used to have.

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