Only 25 thousandths of Max Verstappen to defeat Mercedes in the last qualifying of the season. Only 86 thousandths separated the first three drivers, with those of Mercedes in their wake, also breaking a streak of six poles and consecutive doubles for the Germans at Yas Marina, the entire hybrid era. And despite his long experience in Formula 1, for Verstappen it was only the third pole of his career, the first since Brazil 19.
Along the way, Verstappen had a unique moment. “It had never happened to me before. He was literally on his way to the wall. ” His left hand was caught between the steering wheel and his knee, But it not only prevented the accident. The Dutchman also beat the German cars for the first time this season in the dry (only Stroll in the particular circumstances of Turkey, and in the wet). Christian Horner celebrated with the euphoria of a grand prix victory. “Congratulations! It’s the first ‘no Mercedes’ pole of the year! ” the ‘boss’ shouted at him on the radio. All right. Now it is about finishing the play.
“Everyone is already tired”
Verstappen took advantage of the magnificent performance on this track of his car, and the slump of Lewis Hamilton after overcoming the Covid. “Before qualifying I said it would be the last ‘push’ of the season and we did it. I am very happy with that. It was quite a difficult qualifying at the beginning when it came to completing my laps. Especially in the last sector there are so many corners where you can make a mistake. But luckily everything went well on that last lap ”. In fact, on the penultimate attempt of Q3, in the third sector, he was losing the good previous work done during the lap by not getting the performance out of his tires. He corrected the shot for the final and went to the open grave with the Mercedes entering the finish line earlier .. Now he is aiming for his second win of the course after the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix at Silverstone.
“It was a beautiful lap but it was difficult. Really no I hoped I could fight for pole, but it has been very rewarding. At least we have achieved a pole this year within the domain of Mercedes, and for that, we can be very happy. At the end of such a tough season, everyone is already somewhat tired. I think that for the mechanics and for the rest of the team this has been a good boost. It was not the easiest qualifying, since at the beginning I had a hand trapped under the wheel and I did a bad lap. After that it was not easy on the medium tire either, however in the second run we made some changes that seemed to work. Then in Q3 we had a pretty good lap and everything went well ”.
“It has been a long season for all of us, especially since we have had many races in a row. Achieving pole position here is a great motivation so that all of us in the team try to finish tomorrow (at the top of the podium). I hope we can set a new world pit record tomorrow, that would be very good. But with this result today we are very happy. Today was a great day”. On the prospects for the race, the Dutchman was cautious: “I don’t think anyone has done many laps, so we have to see what will happen. Starting on pole doesn’t automatically mean we’re going to win, but I’ll give it my all and we’ll see. It will not be easy tomorrow since behind I will have the two Mercedes, who can establish different strategies and pressure mebut I’m going to give it my all and have fun. Also it seems our top speed is fine. Hope that helps tomorrow. “.
A limping Hamilton
Hamilton represented the cross of the coin in Yas Marina, diminished after overcoming the coronavirus: “It is definitely being a difficult weekend to recover the rhythm (prior to his convalescence from COVID-19). I am very grateful to be able to return, and we will try to close in the best possible way. Today I suffered with the balance of the car, so getting a perfect lap was more difficult than other Saturdays. I have given everything, but this time it was not possible, although it was very even between the three of us. Although it is a disappointment to finish third, Max is to be congratulated, because he has driven incredibly all year.
Finally, Lewis Hamilton launched a message for the Dutchman, who he hopes to make things difficult for him this Sunday: “We hope he suffers to win the race, since Valtteri and I will start right behind him. All this makes tomorrow an exciting day, where we will also have many unknowns with the long runs. It is a circuit where overtaking is difficult, but strategy will also be important, just like the first few laps. We will have opportunities and I want to see if we are able to take advantage of them or not ”.