Windsor admits his mistake after Verstappen dominance: ‘I was too optimistic and ambitious’

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Windsor admits his mistake after Verstappen dominance: 'I was too optimistic and ambitious'

Peter Windsor enjoyed qualifying for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, but had to admit that his prior assessment did not seem to be entirely correct. The analyst readily admitted he was wrong on his YouTube channel and also indicated that he was impressed by Max Verstappen and Oliver Bearman.

Windsor paid extensive attention to the substitute at Ferrari. ‘He had just taken pole position for the Formula 2 race, and then had to give that up. He did a great job, I thought,” Windsor says of the 18-year-old Briton. ‘He just missed Q3. This guy is seriously talented, and we’re going to see a lot more of him.”

Bearman is in a somewhat unfavorable situation, the 71-year-old analyst realizes. ‘From his perspective, the current situation is a bit of a shame, because Ferrari has now already signed Charles Leclerc and Lewis Hamilton for the future. So in the short term there are no serious opportunities to drive for Ferrari, but I assume his seat at Haas is financed and guaranteed.’

Verstappen surprises Windsor

Although Verstappen is almost always at the front, the 26-year-old Dutchman still managed to surprise Windsor. After the first training sessions, Windsor predicted that the lead of Verstappen and Red Bull Racing would be smaller this time than in Bahrain, but the dominance was if possible even clearer than before. “Yes, I was probably a bit optimistic and ambitious after Thursday when I said that it would be a bit more exciting for pole position at this circuit than is normally the case,” Windsor laughs.

Windsor then explains how Red Bull got things right again. “Red Bull did what they always do: they set up the car perfectly for the race and maintained top speed, making sure the balance was right and that Max had the confidence he needed on this circuit full of fast corners.”

Verstappen’s pole position was never in question for a moment. The Dutchman was fastest in Q1, Q2 and Q3. ‘He took pole position with a difference of more than three tenths, while everyone else is very close together. “It was a phenomenal demonstration from Max – again – of how much he is one with his car, and how good he is as a driver, and how good Red Bull is at getting the most out of the RB20, even so early in the season.”

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max verstappen rb20 dark saudi arabia red bull racing 2
Max Verstappen on the Jeddah Corniche Circuit.

Windsor saw how Verstappen checked off all the boxes. ‘Max completed two laps in Q3, and both laps were good enough for pole position, although the second lap was not a bit slower. He was the fastest in all sectors, and he was also the fastest in terms of top speed. Pole position for Verstappen. He said himself that anything can still happen, but this is a pretty good start for Max and Red Bull,” says Windsor, who also briefly discussed the performance of the number two. ‘Charles Leclerc worked very hard, especially in Turn 22. That’s that quick change of direction entering the last sector. In the end he succeeded and rode a very good lap.’

‘Aston Martin just as good as Red Bull’

Windsor then shows the top speeds of the participants in Q3, with Verstappen’s name at the top of the list, at 333 kilometers per hour, ahead of Sergio Pérez and Lewis Hamilton. Leclerc is three kilometers per hour slower than Verstappen on the straight, while McLaren is by far the slowest on the straight. ‘Ferrari can once again say that it is the best of the rest. Pérez has seemed very organized all weekend,” Windsor continues. “He’s not on the front row, but in third place, behind Max, on the clean side of the grid, so that’s not a bad starting spot at all.”

‘Fernando Alonso qualified in fourth place and drove almost the same time as Pérez. So Aston Martin is just as fast as Red Bull, if the Red Bull is not driven by Verstappen,” Windsor laughs. ‘The Aston Martin was faster than both McLarens and Mercedes, so that is quite good for Aston Martin. In addition, Alonso is not the very best driver in the qualifications. He’s very fast, but he’s better in the races.”

Flying start for Verstappen?

Finally, Windsor looks ahead to the race. ‘So we go into the race with Max on pole position, and Charles next to it, just like in Bahrain. Just like in Bahrain, the opening round, without DRS, will be interesting. Max has the slight advantage with top speed, and he will lean on that on the opening lap. Will it be a repeat of Bahrain? That could easily be the case, although Leclerc did have some problems at the time.’

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