Max Verstappen Unhappy With P3 Performance

2021 Hungarian Grand Prix, Saturday - Max Verstappen (image courtesy Red Bull Racing)
2021 Hungarian Grand Prix, Saturday - Max Verstappen (image courtesy Red Bull Racing)

Max Verstappen was disappointed with himself after qualifying in P3 in Hungary, but has taken solace from the fact that not only will he have his teammate Sergio Perez starting alongside him, he will also start on the Soft tyre which will give him an advantage heading into Turn 1.

Disappointment For Max Verstappen

After a solid Q2 performance, Max Verstappen found his pace dropped off a little in Q3, which was enough to see the Dutchman have to settle for third on the grid for tomorrow’s Hungarian Grand Prix.

“The whole weekend so far we have been a bit behind and qualifying was the same. I went a bit backwards on my Q3 lap compared to Q2 and I just didn’t have the same grip for some reason. I don’t know if it was track or tyre related but the balance was a bit off to push everywhere and around here the corners all follow really quickly so if you don’t feel good in one corner, the next one won’t be great either. I lost a bit of lap time on the final run but even with a faster out lap and a slightly better balance I don’t think we would have been on pole. P3 isn’t where we want to be and we cannot be happy with that but nevertheless, we are still up there with Checo next to me so we will see what we can do in the race. We will also find out if starting on the soft is a good strategy as it’s going to be really hot. The softer tyre won’t last as long as the medium but maybe it will help us off the line. The start around here is very important so we will give it a good go and fight to get the best out of the race,” said Verstappen.

2021 Hungarian Grand Prix, Saturday - Max Verstappen (image courtesy Red Bull Racing)
2021 Hungarian Grand Prix, Saturday – Max Verstappen (image courtesy Red Bull Racing)

Progress For Sergio Perez

After Friday’s practice sessions Sergio Perez knew he had more in the tank, and the Mexican showed his pace during qualifying, moving up to P4 to put his car alongside his teammate on the second row.

“I certainly felt that I was making good progress throughout qualifying with the car. It was a real shame to lose that final lap because I felt that it had good potential. At the time we thought we had plenty of margin to work with, unfortunately that wasn’t the case and it meant that I basically lost my final attempt. We knew Mercedes were going to be very strong today but I really hope tomorrow we are able to put a lot of pressure onto them. We have a different strategy and are looking forward to the start, this is a place where if you get one or two corners right there is plenty of lap time to be found. In an ideal scenario we will get ahead of them and hold position but the race is very long and anything can happen,” added Perez.

Second Row Not The Goal For Red Bull

While the second row isn’t the goal for Red Bull, team boss Christian Horner took solace from the fact his team is much closer to Mercedes this year than they were in 2020 at this circuit, and is ready to fight tomorrow.

“Mercedes have been quick all weekend here but Max’s time in Q2 looked pretty impressive. In Q3 he wasn’t completely happy with the balance of the car, so third was as good as we had today. Locking out the second row with Max and Checo gives us options and we have a different strategy from Mercedes ahead which is going to make it an exciting race. We couldn’t do the same time as Lewis did on the medium and we felt that maybe tactically it was better to take a different route. We prefer the soft tyre for the start and we’ve got to drive an attacking race as we know how hard it is to overtake around here which means strategy is going to be crucial. Lewis had a hell of a first Q3 lap in the bank and he just didn’t want to give our cars any advantage on the final out lap, which unfortunately meant Checo lost out on a second Q3 run. It was just a bit of gamesmanship. It’s his right to do that as he had track position and we don’t have an issue, it’s all about tomorrow now. We know Silverstone and Budapest are very much Mercedes strongholds. If you look at their performances last year we were a second off at Silverstone and more than that here so we take encouragement that we are as close as we are. It’s different strategies, it’s different grip levels, we’ve got to get a good start and take the fight to them tomorrow. It’s a long second half of this championship and it’s going to be well worth watching,” concluded Horner.

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