At the top of the order, Verstappen found a marginal improvement to secure pole position, the Dutch driver posting a time of 1:40.332 on his second run. Ricciardo improved too, to 1:40.385, to seal a Red Bull 1-2 in Q2 just over a tenth ahead of Raikkonen and with Vettel fourth
With Red Bull dominating, it might have been expected to see Verstappen to the fore again in the first runs in Q3. And the Red Bull man obliged with a P1 time of 1:39.814, with Ricciardo five hundredths of a second behind. Vettel, though, was pushing hard and the Ferrari driver stole past to take provisional pole by 0.145s.
“During the race it will be difficult to pass him [Vettel], so we’ll have to see on the first lap,” says Verstappen.
“I’ll focus a lot on the start. If not, then you settle for second into turn one and you see what happens during the race. It’s such a long race, a lot of things can happen.”
“It’s a shame we couldn’t put it on pole,” says Verstappen. “I think the final lap was not quite there, but we were quite close so I’m pretty happy with that.
“He was improving and improving. In Q2, he was close and then in Q3 he made another step, which we also predicted, but we couldn’t react to that. I took quite a bit of risk on my lap and thought it was quite good.”
The young F1 sensation just missed out on his first career pole position, Max says he is pleased with the performance of his RB13 throughout the weekend so far.
“I think we’ve had a good buildup this weekend in general,” says Verstappen. “I’m very pleased. We’ve improved the car and I think that in qualifying, I had the best balance that I had so far in the weekend, which is also very positive.”