In Q1 and Q2 during qualifying for the Grand Prix in Brazil, everything seemed to point to an open battle for pole position, but a change in weather conditions ultimately led to major differences in the opening minutes of Q3, after which the session was stopped prematurely. Polesitter Max Verstappen thought he was having a terrible lap, but was urged by his team to keep going.
In the press conference, the 26-year-old Dutchman looked back on his qualifying session. ‘The differences were very small. In Q1 and Q2 everyone had to use a lot of tire sets, and that made it quite interesting,” says Verstappen, who quickly realized in Q3 that he had to record a lap time as quickly as possible. ‘At the start of Q3 you saw that the sky was just black, wow! I thought: if that rain starts to fall, it will be extreme. That’s why I did a quick out lap. The first sector felt okay, but the rest of the lap was really shocking!’
Verstappen completely lost balance
‘During the round the rain came. The rain was not yet falling, but the wind became much stronger and changed direction. We suddenly had a tailwind in the middle sector, and the car was sliding all over the place.” With a tailwind, the downward pressure also disappears, and so the balance was suddenly completely lost. ‘I was shouting on the radio: what the hell happened?! We are nowhere at all. The team told me to keep pushing because everyone was having a hard time, but I’ve never experienced anything like this, where the balance of the car was affected so much, but then again the weather was very extreme.’
Q1 and Q2 therefore seem to be a better indication for the rest of the weekend. ‘The differences were very small, and we were quite competitive. No one actually knew who would have been first in Q3 if it had been a normal session. That makes it very interesting for Sunday, to see how that develops in the long runs,” says the Dutchman, who is then reminded that there is also a sprint race, plus qualifying. “Ah, we do that too still yes. What happens on Saturday depends on the wind direction. It will be exciting again.’
Few tires left
While one lap is often enough for the top drivers in Q1, this time Verstappen left the pit lane three times. ‘We only had one free practice. For example, I had not yet completed a lap on the soft tires. In Q1 you always have a little more margin in terms of lap time, but it was close, so if you didn’t have a good lap, you could be out. That’s why many drivers used two or even three sets, and that continued throughout the rest of qualifying. There was always the threat of rain, but in Q1 and Q2 it was clear that it wasn’t going to happen yet, so you were forced to use new tires.’
Verstappen can take his seventeenth win of the season this weekend in Brazil. Also betting on F1? Register now at JACKS and receive 60 euros in free bets! If you play responsibly, you keep it fun. What does gambling cost you? Stop on time, 18+