Verstappen expects a tough fight in the race: ‘I really mean that’

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Verstappen expects a tough fight in the race: 'I really mean that'

Many did not expect Max Verstappen to take pole position for the Australian Grand Prix, including the Dutchman himself. It was a very nice surprise for the 26-year-old Red Bull Racing driver, with which the three-time world champion says he even surprised himself.

After a messy Friday, in which Verstappen lost a lot of time due to damage to his floor, things went a lot better on Saturday morning during the third free practice. The 26-year-old Red Bull driver was not the fastest, but the difference to fastest man Charles Leclerc was negligible at just 0.020 seconds.

In front of the F1TV camera, Verstappen acknowledges that it has not been an easy weekend so far and that he never really believed that pole position would be achieved on Saturday. Ferrari seemed to be a size too big for that. Nothing was further from the truth. ‘Yes, I am incredibly happy. Like you said, it’s quite difficult to find the right balance this weekend. Even in Q2 I didn’t expect to be able to compete for pole position,” reveals the reigning world champion, who was very happy with his performance in Q3. “I probably even surprised myself a little with this one.”

‘It will be a difficult race, I really mean that’

When asked, Verstappen then looks back on his performance in Q3 in more detail. “Yes, we kept improving some small things and in Q3 you of course also take a little more risk,” he explains the enormous contrast between Q1 and Q2 on the one hand and Q3 on the other. ‘I also thought: I’ll just go for it and see where we end up. Of course I also had the data from Q1 and Q2 and I knew where I still had margin. Fortunately, it turned out well,” said the Dutchman, who expects a difficult race.

“The race is going to be really tough,” says Verstappen, who catches himself smiling a little and then immediately goes on the defensive. ‘I really mean that now. I think we had the upper hand in the last races, but I think they will be very strong tomorrow,” Verstappen refers to the Ferrari drivers.

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