Verstappen takes blame for P9 start after first-lap error
Max Verstappen admits his own mistake was the catalyst for a ninth-place start at the Miami Grand Prix despite getting unlucky with a red flag.
The championship leader was favorite for pole position but made an error on his first Q3 lap and returned to the pits, leaving himself with only one run to set a time. While on his out-lap, Charles Leclerc then crashed at Turn 8 to bring out a red flag that ended the session prematurely, and Verstappen says it’s a situation he put himself in.
“Of course that is unfortunate, but first of all, we didn’t do a lap, and that was my fault,” Verstappen said. “But it was extremely tricky. I was a little bit off-line out of (Turn) 6 into 7, I felt a bit of understeer, and I just couldn’t get it back on the line. So I aborted my lap. And then of course, you need a bit of luck, hoping that there won’t be a red flag. But of course, when you try to think like that, then it happens.
“So it’s a bit upsetting. I mean, the whole weekend we have been really quick, my Q2 lap was fast enough even for pole in Q3. So I guess that already says that we have a very quick car. But you need to put it together, and where it matters, we didn’t. And that’s a bit frustrating for my part.”
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Verstappen feels Red Bull could have played it more safe with his final run by leaving the garage ahead of more cars but he believes the team also wasn’t taking too many risks chasing the best track conditions.
“We could have in hindsight — we could have also gone out a bit earlier. But you know, at the end of the day, I make a mistake. We don’t plan of course on me making a mistake. Then of course, you’re like, ‘OK, let’s go a little bit early,’ so we might have a clean run. I was still quite ahead of a few cars. But then you also don’t anticipate that one car immediately goes off. That’s a street circuit, these things happen.”
Despite the lowly starting position, Verstappen says getting ahead of every car except teammate Sergio Perez — starting on pole — is his realistic target on Sunday.
“Minimum P2… It will be a little bit tougher. But I think with the pace of the car we have normally, yeah, we should have a chance of moving forward quite quickly. But I hope it’s not going to be a DRS train because then we are in trouble.”
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