Verstappen ‘a bit upset with myself’ after Miami qualifying mistake but victory fight back from P9 ‘not impossible’
Max Verstappen has set himself a minimum target of recovering to the podium places during Sunday afternoon’s Miami Grand Prix after ending a dramatic qualifying session down in ninth position.
Having topped Q1 and Q2, Verstappen aborted his first Q3 lap after a mistake at Turn 5, with the Dutchman’s second attempt then ended by the red flags when Charles Leclerc crashed out.
It meant Verstappen wound up a lowly ninth on the grid with no time to his name in the top 10 shootout, while Red Bull team mate and championship rival Sergio Perez took pole position.
Speaking to Sky Sports after qualifying, Verstappen admitted: “Well, yeah, clearly… I mean that was definitely a mistake of mine, trying to put it on the limit, and then I made a mistake and had to abort the lap.
“Then you rely on a bit of luck as well, that there is not going to be a red flag [at the end], and that can happen on a street circuit – [so I’m] just a bit upset with myself.”
Verstappen enters the race with a six-point advantage over Perez in the drivers’ standings, but now has a challenge on his hands to retain his lead given that eight cars sit between them.
Asked about his recovery target, the reigning double world champion refused to give up on victory, saying: “A podium, for sure, but I want to win, so this is not great. [Winning is] not impossible, but it’s not going to be easy.”
Verstappen and Perez have two victories apiece so far this season, with Verstappen triumphing in Bahrain and Australia, and Perez winning in Saudi Arabia and last time out in Azerbaijan.