Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Interlagos, 2021

Verstappen: “Not a big shock” Hamilton is ahead after new engine

2021 Sao Paulo Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen says that he wasn’t surprised to be beaten by Lewis Hamilton in qualifying for the São Paulo Grand Prix sprint qualifying race after the Mercedes driver’s engine change.

Mercedes has fitted a new engine to Hamilton’s car, his fifth of the season, as they have found their power unit performance is degrading more quickly than expected this year.

“When they take a new engine, naturally, they have a bit more power for a weekend,” said Verstappen, who took second on the grid. “So for me, it’s not a big shock.”

Hamilton led throughout qualifying, leaving the Red Bull driver over four tenths of a second adrift.

“I’m just happy to to be second, that’s a good position to start from,” said Verstappen. “Of course, you always want to be closer. But sometimes you just have to be realistic, and there was not much more in it.”

The five-place grid penalty Hamilton has received for further exceeding his engine allocation will be applied to the grid for Sunday’s Grand Prix. He will start the sprint qualifying race from pole position, where points are awarded to the top three only.

“There are not that many points, of course, to gain in the sprint race,” said Verstappen. “So I hope to have a good first lap and see from there.”

“Then, of course, the most important one is on on Sunday.”

Temperatures are forecast to rise over the course of the weekend, which Verstappen believes could play to Red Bull’s advantage.

“It will be completely different anyway, it’s going to be a lot warmer,” said Verstappen. “So that will change the behaviour of the car as well. So we’ll see.”

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2021 Sao Paulo 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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11 comments on “Verstappen: “Not a big shock” Hamilton is ahead after new engine”

  1. Max should have said: “man, these Merc are so fast. if even Bottas is just 1 tenth behind, well man, you know how quick that Merc is”.

    oh well, no that is not his style, is it?

  2. Max fluffed his qualifying and is now trying to blame it on a new Mercedes engine. What about last time out? Did Lewis and Bottas have new engines too?

    1. petebaldwin (@)
      12th November 2021, 21:22

      He’s blaming it on his rival’s car being faster than his just as Lewis does every time Max wins. There’s no point in singling one out over the other – neither will say “yeah… they just drove better than me.”

      1. That’s a lie. Lewis (and even Bottas) are honest when they have the car, but fluff up their qualifying with scruffy laps.

        Being beaten by a faster car is different from messing up your laps or race.

        1. Lol , he had already admitted his last lap was bad, what are you on about?

    2. So you mean a new engine makes no difference? That’s great technical knowledge, congrats!

      1. Yeah… just like Lewis and Bottas had new engines in Mexico, which is a traditional Red Bull track, right?

        Never mind that a new engine isn’t worth 4/10ths.

        You may need to brush up a bit on your F1 knowledge.

    3. @kbdavies
      Max made a mistake in his final lap in the last sector. He was already down 2 tenths off Hamilton and 1 tenth on Bottas on sector 1 alone which is mainly a 2 straights and a corner.

  3. Lewis’s car was using DRS opening wider than allowed. So they used a new engine and illigal car. Lewis is “under investigation” and could be sent to the back of the grid for the sprint or be forced to start from the pits.

    I guess now we know what Toto meant by “We’re going to throw everything we’ve got at it the remaining races”. He meant cheating.

  4. Max gets pole because he’s a superstar.

    Lewis gets pole it’s because he got a new engine. Interesting.

    1. @ppzzus

      Max gets pole because he’s a superstar.
      Lewis gets pole it’s because he got a new engine. Interesting.

      How about “when Lewis win is the driver, when Lewis lose is the car”?

      And almost no one here says Max is a superstar just because he got pole with that Red Bull, as that car has been usually the fastest over a single lap this season. We say Max is a superstar when he edges Lewis by just one second or something as they’re disposing of nearly equal machineries in terms of performance during a race. It already happened twice this season. And also as a whole when he leads the championship by 19 points despite having poorer luck, and again, in a season with very closely matched cars in the sharp end of the field.

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