Verstappen calls 0.4s pole margin ‘a statement’

Max Verstappen describes his advantage in qualifying at the Austrian Grand Prix as “a statement” after taking pole position by over 0.4s.

The last three qualifying sessions — including Friday’s sprint qualifying — have seen pole position decided by under 0.1s as the field has closed up, with Verstappen’s last full pole position coming in Imola. After being fastest in qualifying for the sprint and winning the shorter race, he then took pole in Austria by over 0.4s from Lando Norris and says it shows what Red Bull is capable of.

“It’s been a while since we’ve actually been on pole, so it’s great,” Verstappen said. “It’s a great feeling. The team has been working really hard to try and make the car more competitive. I think this is a great statement, and hopefully we can also show that tomorrow in the race.


“I think the whole session went really well. The car was in a better window. I could push a bit more, rely on the grip of the car, the balance. It was very enjoyable. I was just trying to progress through Q1 without using a new set, and that worked.

“Then from there, we just tried to fine-tune the balance here and there a little bit. But every lap that I did was feeling good. And then it’s all about trying to just nail every corner. It’s been a while that I’ve felt like this in the car and also looking at the gap, the last few races, I’ve always been very close in front or behind. So this was definitely very positive for the team.”

After a number of races where Red Bull has been challenged by Norris and McLaren, Verstappen is confident the balance he found for qualifying will benefit him across the 71 laps at the Red Bull Ring too.

“It was just a more stable balance, a bit more connected front to rear, and that worked out well,” he said. “I think we made the right changes, and then you can see that it’s little things that sometimes can actually make quite a bit of a difference in lap time. So I’m very happy with that because, like I said before, we haven’t had the easiest of runs and I think pure pace has been a bit harder for us compared to the last two years. So this is definitely very positive for everyone.

“That’s something that I hope is going to be good [for the race] as well, but I will find out tomorrow. I felt like the car just improved a bit balance wise, which hopefully will help the tires tomorrow as well, because it’s still going to be a hot and long race. So you really have to look after the tires, and that’s what we’ll try to do.”

Story originally appeared on Racer