Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Albert Park, 2022

Verstappen says he has “unbelievable” inconsistency in grip on soft tyres

2022 Australian Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by

Max Verstappen again questioned the consistency of the grip from his tyres after qualifying second for the Australian Grand Prix.

The Red Bull driver told his team during Q3 he was unhappy with the grip he had from one of his new sets of soft tyres.

“Mate I don’t know what’s happened with this set again, it felt shit,” Verstappen told race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase. “It’s so weird. Just not the same. I find it unbelievable.”

After Lambiase acknowledged the message Verstappen added: “We really need to understand why these sets feel so different.”

Verstappen made similar comments during qualifying for the previous round in Jeddah, saying he had “zero grip” and found it “shocking.”

Speaking after today’s qualifying session, Verstappen said he had been dissatisfied with his car’s handling since the event began.

“I didn’t really feel good in the car the whole weekend so far,” he said. “I think there’s not been one lap where I actually felt confident, so a bit of a struggle.

“Of course, second is still a good result but [I’m] just not feeling that great to go to the limit. So we’ll try to analyse it.”

He is hopeful his car will prove more predictable in the race tomorrow. “Probably in race pace, everything stabilises a bit. But for me, this weekend so far has been all over the place.

“Of course, we’re happy to be second, but of course, I think also as a team, we want more.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2022 Australian Grand Prix

Browse all 2022 Australian Grand Prix articles

Author information

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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

10 comments on “Verstappen says he has “unbelievable” inconsistency in grip on soft tyres”

  1. This makes me feel that the Redbull might have more pace in hand when they get a better handle on the tyres, particularly in qualifying. Of course all teams will improve throughout the year but if it’s a tyre warming/utilisation issue then usually that is easier to resolve than a fundamental car design issue like Mercedes seem to have.

    1. Coventry Climax
      9th April 2022, 11:44

      Or, it could indeed be inconsistency within the Pirelli product. It’s not exactly like they have a rock solid track record regarding their product.
      Frontrunners will likely suffer more from such an issue as they consistently ask more from the tyres then the slower cars.
      And it might also be that there’s consistency differences between the compounds themselves, with the softest being most affected.

      1. It could be, but I don’t recall seeing widespread comments like this from other teams and drivers this year, certainly not Ferrari. That suggests to me it’s more likely to be a quirk of the Redbull (or even Max’s driving style/preparation if Checo isn’t having the same issues) than inconsistent tyres.

      2. If the setup is borderline and gives him inconsistent grip the result is the same: he blames the tires.

        1. Coventry Climax
          9th April 2022, 16:32

          It doesn’t make sense for a given setup to give inconsistent grip over different sets of tyres. Differences between the quality of those sets does.

          1. Coventry Climax I too think there is ample reason to suspect some inconsistencies from Pirelli, as you say given their track record. But ok if Max (or RBR) are the only ones noticing then that’s interesting too, but in general I think Max knows what he is doing and what he is talking about when he is comparing one set to the next and presumably without having changed enough in the car setup to warrant such a surprise difference from one set to the next on his part. Pirelli are the ones who have famously been making tires that give the drivers headaches.

          2. Why is just him complaining? He can’t go out at same time with same ambient temperature with different set, more rubber gets on track etc. If you have a borderline setup that is much more sensitive to changes in environment.

            If i was Pirelli i would have to get a giant bank check to be in F1 for doing “degrading” tires.

  2. AFAIK he’s the only one complaining – how is any of this the fault of the tyre? Seems to me it might be the car setup, or more likely driving style.
    I keep saying that this could be just selective reporting, but come on, Max, just occasionally, it might not be somebody else’s fault, you know?

    1. @biker56 I don’t think he is necessarily blaming, but rather might just be explaining, since he certainly does not complain about all sets of soft tires that I am aware of. I just don’t envision that his car setup and his driving style vary so much to warrant such a surprise from one set of tires to the next, and if he had been trying such varying setups and driving styles then he wouldn’t make a comment about surprises from tire sets, but rather would be commenting about all the experimenting he’d been doing in setups and driving styles and how much that is affecting how the tires work for him, and that just doesn’t seem to be the case. It seems like they can change nothing and he can get caught out on a surprise set of tires. I’m sure they’ll learn more and more with each session. They’ll consider their setups sure, but also track types and temps etc etc.

      And personally I have no reason to have a ton of faith in what Pirelli does. Now that I think of it, since they were presumably going to be making more durable and less finicky tires in terms of temp operating windows with these 18″ers, I wonder if inconsistency in tires is their only remaining way of making tires ‘the story of F1’ as it had been in the previous chapter. Lol perhaps that’s a little too ‘conspiracy theory’ but then again, it’s Pirelli.

  3. @robbie You could well be right – I have not seen a video of the interview to get the context, tone of voice etc. as I said, it could just be the reporting.
    Have you heard if anyone else had similar tyre issues? If not, at least some of my point stands, I think.

Comments are closed.