Verstappen curses ‘stupid’ qualifying in Baku as he loses another chance of pole to red flag
Max Verstappen cursed his luck as he was denied another shot at pole position after red flags prematurely ended qualifying – for the second round in a row – in Azerbaijan.
The Red Bull driver was irate in Monaco as Charles Leclerc crashed and ended qualifying early, securing himself a provisional pole position in the process. And in Baku, Verstappen – who crashed in final practice on Saturday morning and lost out on 30 minutes of running – was denied a late shot at pole because AlphaTauri's Yuki Tsunoda crashed in the dying minutes of qualifying. Coincidentally, once again, Charles Leclerc was on provisional pole at the time, so will start from P1 on the grid in Sunday's race.
Frustrated after qualifying third in an incident-packed Q3, the Dutchman said: "It was just a stupid qualifying to be honest. Anyway, it is what it is. Still P3. We have a good car, good recovery from FP3 obviously for us.
"I think everything was working out fine and all this **** is all the time happening... in Q3. It’s just unfortunate but it’s a street circuit, so these things can happen. And like I said, our car’s strong so I just hope that tomorrow in the race, we can look after our tyres and score good points."
The championship leader was convinced that pole position was in his sights before Tsunoda brought out the session-ending red flag, but was happy with his recovery from a small crash in FP3, as he explained on Saturday afternoon.
"I was very confident that we definitely could fight for pole. After missing, basically, my performance run in FP3, it was about just building it up and it was all going well, but with how all of Q3 went, it was just unfortunate. But we’re still third, so we can still fight," said Verstappen.
"We’re still up there. Of course I would have liked to start a bit further ahead, but it’s still all to play for. I think we have a good race car and around here it’s also a lot about tyres, to keep them alive and stuff, and it seemed alright on our car – so we are looking forward to tomorrow."
Verstappen starts on the second row, behind pole-sitter Leclerc and championship rival Lewis Hamilton in P2 – as the Red Bull driver aims to consolidate his four-point lead in the standings on Sunday.