Red Bull, fresh from their Mexico exploits which saw them secure their first front-row lock-out since the 2013 United States Grand Prix, knew a repeat of that performance in Brazil was unlikely. That proved to be the case in qualifying at Interlagos, with Max Verstappen the leading RB14 in fifth. However, despite starting behind both Mercedes and Ferrari cars, he feels a wet race on Sunday will boost their hopes of a podium finish…
Verstappen knows how to handle the rain at Interlagos, having produced a masterclass two years ago when he climbed from 14th to third on a sodden circuit to secure a memorable podium. His Red Bull boss Christian Horner described that performance as ‘outstanding’, and ranked it alongside legendary drives from Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher.
The unpredictable nature of the Sao Paulo weather means Verstappen may well have another chance to display his wet-weather exploits in Brazil on Sunday. The 21-year-old, who won last time out in Mexico, isn’t getting his hopes up, but he knows the arrival of rain will mix up the race, having seen Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton edge Sebastian Vettel to pole.
“Tomorrow it looks like it will get warmer and therefore tougher on the rear tyres, we should be in good shape as I think this suits us better,” said Verstappen. “It is always going to be a hard race in the dry around here so if the rain comes, I think it could play into our hands.
“We did the best we could, which was fifth, so I think we should be happy with that. Conditions were a bit tricky but everyone handled it very well in the garage and we came through with a good performance.
“We tried to get a quicker lap on the soft tyre in Q2 but just missed out. It isn’t a disaster starting on supersofts so we aren’t too concerned.