Verstappen says second Q3 lap in Spain ‘would have been even better’ and explains why he abandoned it
Max Verstappen made it four pole positions for the 2023 season, and his first for the Spanish Grand Prix, with a commanding display during Saturday’s qualifying session in Barcelona – needing to complete only one lap in Q3 to seal the deal.
Having already topped Q1 and Q2, Verstappen pumped in a 1m 12.272s in the early minutes of Q3 and abandoned run number two when it became clear that none of his rivals were threatening his position at the top of the timesheets.
Offering his thoughts after qualifying, the reigning double world champion said: “Going into Q3, I knew there was quite a bit of potential left in the car, so I could finally push it to the limit in that first run, and the car was really quick.
“Then of course we went out again for the second run and that would have been even better. I think GP [race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase] got a bit excited and told me to abort!”
Pushed on why the run was aborted, he added: “It was just to save the tyres, maybe we need it tomorrow, we don’t know. We already said that in the garage that if they [the other drivers] wouldn’t be in front of me, then maybe we wouldn’t complete the lap – so that’s what we did.”
As for how he is feeling at the wheel of the RB19 this weekend, Verstappen explained that the car gave him confidence from his first runs in Friday’s opening practice session.
“I have to say, from the start, the car was pretty good,” he commented. “I only made like tiny little adjustments, but I felt comfortable straight away – long runs, short runs.
“It’s never easy to get to the limit in a Formula 1 car, but it’s been very enjoyable to drive, it gives me a lot of confidence and when you have all that, you can really push it to the limit.”
Verstappen’s team mate, Sergio Perez, will start Sunday’s race back in 11th position, having dropped out in the Q2 phase via a trip through the gravel – adding to his recent qualifying woes after a Q1 exit in Monaco.