Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Circuit de Catalunya, 2024

Verstappen says Red Bull telling Perez to give him a tow wasn’t planned

Formula 1

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Max Verstappen says Red Bull extracted everything they could from his car despite missing out on pole position.

Lando Norris denied him by just two-thousandths of a second with his final lap in Q3 with Verstappen having to settle for a front row start.

Verstappen benefitted from a slipstream from team mate Sergio Perez along the pit straight at the start of his final flying lap. The world champion, who opportunistically used a tow from Nico Hulkenberg to claim pole position at Imola last month, said the team didn’t plan the move before qualifying.

After passing his team mate into turn ten on his own final push lap, Perez was instructed to “push to turn one and then get out of the way” by race engineer Hugh Bird in order to provide a slipstream for Verstappen behind. Although this enabled Verstappen to get a slightly quicker first sector time than Norris, the McLaren driver ultimately took pole by just 0.020s.

“A nice little tow from Checo,” Verstappen told his team over the radio after being informed that he had been denied pole. “I guess we really extracted everything.”

Speaking after the session, the championship leader said the slipstream from his team mate had not been planned before Q3.

“It was just by chance,” Verstappen said. “I didn’t even know initially where Checo was on the lap and then they told me where he was. So I was like, ‘I’ll try to hang on to him’.”

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After telling his team his car felt much better on Saturday compared to Friday’s practice sessions, Verstappen believes Red Bull will be able to challenge for victory tomorrow.

“I think in qualifying it was all coming together a bit nicer,” he said. “The whole weekend, we’ve been trying to find a bit of a connected balance because in all the practice sessions, it was very difficult. So I was quite happy in qualifying.

“In Q3, I got a nice little tow from Checo to turn one to really extract everything we could and, unfortunately, it was just not enough. But that is how it goes sometimes. I think, overall, we can still be very happy with this performance in qualifying and it’s definitely all to play for tomorrow.”

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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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16 comments on “Verstappen says Red Bull telling Perez to give him a tow wasn’t planned”

  1. Doesn’t matter if it was planned or not.
    If Max got a tow, and still only got second spot, then I think we can start hoping that the total domination might be coming to an end.
    I am more than happy to see Max win every race … but I want him to really win them, not simply be out in front on his own for the entire race.

    1. Yes, there’s no doubt he’s one of the best drivers of all time, and up until the point where he first got a dominant car (I’d say spa 2022), the most deserving champion at that point was still him, but it’s far more interesting to see races like canada or imola, where he has to fight for it; canada in particular felt like a race that could’ve been won by mclaren and mercedes too with the changeable conditions.

    2. I agree and also hope so, but it seems Lando got an even better tow.

  2. Perez the ultimate number 3 driver.
    Verstappen is 1 and 2 for Red Bull.. isn’t he?

    1. Perez is a ‘number 2’ driver, in that he’s a load of number 2.

    2. Ohhh, that’s an interesting idea, I guess red bull will eventually manage to clone verstappen and the clone will then replace perez, who will indeed be the number 3, as in reserve driver!

  3. And do not forget lando also got a tow ( a way better one for that) by ocon.
    Even zak b confirmed this made his lap.

    1. VER didnt manage to get the better tow from his own team mate? Having the slightly better car and getting the tow still wasnt enough…

      1. Only 0.020 slower with a bigger rear wing lol. All should be good for tommorow’s race trim. Maybe your princes will get a podium too finally. If she defeat Russell offcourse. Could be very challenging:)

        1. oh, orange anti fan needs to whine again

  4. lol the guy’s job is to give Max a tow.
    But hey, he sells a lot of merchandise, right?

    1. I’m guessing the tow wasn’t planned because in the pre-quali talks they assumed perez would be out in q1 or q2, so it was a last minute surprise he was in the final session!

  5. So, we’re supposed to believe that the best team in F1, best car, best driver, best pit crew, best strategy, sent out their #2 car early, then sent out their #1 car, and it all just coincidentally lined up for a tow?

  6. Well he serves no other purpose, other than comic relief.

    Might as well use the lump of helmeted human that is Sergio Perez as an aerodynamic battering ram.

  7. Why even comment on it? Just makes people focus on it even more and there’s nothing wrong with it to begin with.

    1. I’ll add that find the fact Max didn’t know credible. Tire prep is more important than a tow and it could compromise Max’s tire prep and just generally distract him by telling him in advance they were going for a tow. So, I think the team planned it and hoped it’d come off. But we haven’t heard from them yet. So, maybe they’ll confirm that was their aim.

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