Verstappen was visibly angry after qualifying. He smashed his car into the number two board as he was parking up on the pit straight and appeared thoroughly disinterested in giving an interview. He has every reason to be, too – he’d been fastest throughout practice and looked the man to beat throughout qualifying. Losing out on becoming the youngest driver to take pole position would be bad enough, but to surprisingly lose it to his teammate? That’s gotta hurt.
Although Red Bull has looked to be ahead of Mercedes and Ferrari this weekend, it’s not all been straightforward for the team. Verstappen’s car broke down at the end of FP2, and in FP3 both drivers complained of minor driveability issues from the power unit. According to Max, he was still suffering from similar problems in qualifying – and not just in Q3, but throughout the whole session. He said:
“The whole qualifying was crap. Again the same problem as in FP2. Engine braking not like I wanted, just rear locking the car. We tried to make the best of it. I thought it was going to be enough with the problems we had. But it’s still good to be second, we’ll see tomorrow. I’m not sure [if the problems will be fixed for the race] but I’ll drive around them.”
To his credit, Max kept his frustrations directed towards himself and his car and was quick to congratulate his teammate on taking pole. For all their history, battles, and contact over the years, the two do seem to genuinely get on well and respect each other out of the car.
Whether they’ll be as kind to each other on the run down to the first corner is another matter entirely. Either way, it’s going to be exciting…