Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Miami International Autodrome, 2023

Ninth place in qualifying was “my fault” says Verstappen after Q3 error and red flag

2023 Miami Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen says that he targets a “minimum” of second place in the Miami Grand Prix after qualifying only ninth on the grid.

The championship leader will start eight positions lower than Red Bull team mate and closest championship challenger Sergio Perez, who took pole position for Sunday’s race in qualifying.

Verstappen abandoned his first flying lap of Q3 after a mistake at the long left-hander of turns six, seven and eight, failing to set a time. He was then denied the opportunity to set a time on his second attempt due to Charles Leclerc’s crash, which brought out the red flags, and ensured that he would start in ninth.

“I mean, of course, that is unfortunate,” Verstappen told media including RaceFans after the session. “But first of all, of course, we didn’t do a lap – and that was my fault.

“It was extremely tricky. I was a little bit off-line out of six into seven, I felt a bit of understeer and I just couldn’t get it back on the line. So I aborted it my lap.

“Then of course, you need a bit of luck, hoping that there won’t be a red flag. But of course when you try to think like that, then of course it happens. So it’s a bit upsetting.”

Prior to Q3, Verstappen had been fastest in the final two practice sessions and the first two phases of qualifying. “The whole weekend we have been really quick,” he said. “My Q2 lap was fast enough even for pole in Q3.

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“I guess that already says that we have a very good car. But you need to put it together and where it matters we didn’t. And that’s a bit frustrating for my part.”

Asked what his target was for the race after starting in the middle of the pack, Verstappen replied “P2 minimum.” However, despite the performance advantage the Red Bull holds over the rest of the field, he believes it will still be a challenge for him to recover up to his team mate tomorrow.

“It will be a little bit tougher,” he said. “But I think with the pace of the car we have, normally, we should have a chance of moving forward quite quickly. But I hope it’s not going to be a DRS train because then you are in trouble.”

Perez has an opportunity to take the lead in the drivers’ championship over Verstappen if he wins in Miami. Verstappen says he is not concerned if he loses points against his team mate during the race.

“It’s not a great day, but I know that the championship isn’t won tomorrow,” he said. “I’ve been in the position before. You have sometimes a few setbacks, but that doesn’t mean that carries on for the rest of the year or whatever.

“It can’t all be perfect. You hope that it’s going to be perfect. I think last year, we had a tough start but then, you still need to nail a few bits yourself. Today was not perfect.”

After the session was red-flagged Verstappen questioned his race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase why it wasn’t restarted. “That’s it, they’re not going to restart it?” he asked. “Negative,” Lambiase replied. “That’s it Max. There was only one minute 30 left.”

“Yeah I mean it’s more than a lap,” Verstappen said. “It wouldn’t have been enough time to get around,” said Lambiase.

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2023 Miami Grand Prix

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    Author information

    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...
    RJ O'Connell
    Motorsport has been a lifelong interest for RJ, both virtual and ‘in the carbon’, since childhood. RJ picked up motorsports writing as a hobby...

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    8 comments on “Ninth place in qualifying was “my fault” says Verstappen after Q3 error and red flag”

    1. Are you sure it wasn’t someone else’s fault?

    2. While the error was all on him, getting around in 1m36s would’ve been possible for some, even if not all.

    3. The biggest mistake was not setting a bankerlap, after messing up the first lap.
      Like the Baku pitstop mistake, it feels like an overconfidence mistake from RB.

      1. In Q1 or Q2 that’s possible. In Q3 it was not. He couldn’t do an extra lap after the first one due to not having enough fuel in the car, since they fuel it for one times lap, and for that same reason it takes time to prepare the car for the second run and go out.

        1. Is it in the rule to underfuel the car in Q3? or is it illegal to have more than enough fuel? They are seeking performance and they have to make a compromise which is solely their decision. whatever way, it’s still on them…and every team in the same situation

        2. He still could have completed his messy lap. That would’ve put him 4-5th. But hindsight….

    4. I was surprised Red Bull didn’t send Verstappen out first at the second round of timed laps. It was an obvious risk.

      1. @me4me
        Agreed, they should have done that to at least negate a yellow. But since it was a red it wouldn’t have changed anything.

        Or they would have to go even earlier but they didn’t want to miss out on the apparent track evolution. Gambled and lost

    Comments are closed.