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Max Verstappen Q&A: Battle with Ricciardo good for Red Bull

14 May 2016

After his surprise promotion to Red Bull from Toro Rosso, all eyes were on Max Verstappen heading to Spain. How would he deal with the transition? Was he ready for the challenge? In qualifying on Saturday the 18-year-old Dutchman gave emphatic answers to both questions, finishing a fine fourth and running new team mate Daniel Ricciardo extremely close – a situation he believes can only be good for the team in the long run…

Q: Max, did you envision starting this race from the second row when you got promoted to Red Bull Racing?

Max Verstappen: How can you expect something like that? But believe me: I am happy how it turned out - that’s for sure! (laughs)

Q: Then to ask in a different way: did you expect to be so quick – that the car would be so fast and that you would have such a super weekend without any difficulties transitioning?

MV: To be honest, I did not know what to expect. And what happened – and how it happened was super positive! (laughs)

Q: In the way that qualifying unfolded, did you believe that you would beat Daniel (Ricciardo), your team mate?

MV: I really never thought about beating him or anything like that. I was fully concentrating on how the car behaved and enjoying every single lap when I realised that it runs so super smooth! To know that we are competitive and that we are fine and without any issues – that was all I had on my mind. I believe it is good for the team that we saw today that Daniel and I can push each other. That should be a good signal for the future. 

Q: You were faster than Daniel in Q1 and Q2, but dropped back in Q3. Do you have any explanation for that? Was it not in the car or just not a perfect lap?

MV: It is my first qualifying for Red Bull Racing so it is in no way about ‘the perfect lap’! I am just happy with the progress I am making. Every time over the weekend I got into the car I felt better and that is all that matters. 

Q: Do you feel that it is a big step up from Toro Rosso to Red Bull Racing?

MV: Ha, you can clearly see it in the lap times. It was just a super positive feeling, but I am also aware that I have to find the limits step by step.

Q: Was it your limit today?

MV: It was clearly not the limit – but I am satisfied in how qualifying went today. Rome wasn’t built in one day! (laughs)

Q: From the pace you’ve seen in the car today – and also probably from the lack of pace at Ferrari – is there the podium on your mind?

MV: I will now focus on the race and not start dreaming! What will happen will happen…

Q:…but do you expect some hiccups, as the procedures are different at Red Bull Racing than at Toro Rosso?

MV: I will find that out in the race. It will definitely be an interesting learning curve!

Q: History has shown that your races tend to go sink or swim. Will you mentally prepare differently for tomorrow?

MV: No, not at all. Isn’t it my style to go about races in the style that brought me here?

Q: When you and Daniel get close in the race will you fight him as hard as you fought Carlos (Sainz) in the past?

MV: How would I know now? I would have to imagine all kinds of scenarios – and to be honest my time is too precious for that.

Q: Were you surprised that both Red Bull cars are in front of Ferrari?

MV: I am not surprised - just thankful. We had great pace today. And if it stays that way in the race I will even be more thankful!