Max Verstappen Downbeat After Portimao Qualifying: “Not Been a Lot of Fun to Drive Here”

Published 05/01/2021, 12:00 PM EDT
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY: Max Verstappen of Netherlands and Red Bull Racing looks on during previews ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Hungary at Hungaroring in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)


The gusty afternoon at the Algarve circuit managed to throw the drivers out of order, as Valtteri Bottas grabbed onto his first pole of the 2021 F1 season. Meanwhile, both favorites, Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen, struggled for grip and ultimately managed only P2 and P3, respectively.

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The Dutchman, in particular, looked displeased with his starting position for Sunday’s race, as he blamed the traffic for missing out on the pole position. What’s more, he also rated his time in Portugal as “not fun,” as he is keen on turning things around by Sunday afternoon.

It’s of course not ideal but we’ll try to fight him tomorrow, see what we can do. Hopefully, everything stabilizes a bit more. Because up until now it’s not been a lot of fun to drive here,” he said.

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Verstappen post-qualifying interview from formula1

It wasn’t just the track conditions that dented Verstappen‘s prospects of claiming the pole position. Apparently, corners away from the checkered flag in Q3, Verstappen ended up behind another car, consequently falling victim to a tinge of distraction.

What did Max Verstappen say?

Following the qualifying session, Verstappen opened up about his struggle-influenced outing in Portimao, which handed him P3 on the grid for the race.

It was difficult to drive. I was struggling a lot with grip. Yeah, that first lap in Q3 was decent, just had a big moment in [turn] 4, so went a little bit off the track,” he said.

But I was confident that we could do another good lap, but in the last sector, it was just a car in front in the last few corners, just disturbs you. And especially with the little grip we already have, basically cost me a lot of lap time. But it’s what it is.

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Formula One F1 – Portuguese Grand Prix – Algarve International Circuit – Portimao, Portugal – May 1, 2021 Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in action during qualifying REUTERS/Juan Medina

Verstappen, like other drivers, had to rely on the final Q3 run to beat the pacy Mercedes driver. But little did he know that the weather conditions were going to disrupt his hopes; wind speed picked up as cars were scrambling all over the place struggling to find grip.

Consequently, none of the drivers managed to improve on their previous runs, bringing an anticlimactic end to the session. But how interesting the race going to be? Similar to qualifying, the race, too, will likely fall under gusty wind conditions.

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So, are we in for a treat? Might be a good idea to grab a tub of popcorn before the race begins tomorrow.

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Rohit Kumar

659 articles

Rohit Kumar is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. He has been an ardent follower of the racing series since 2007, with his love for the sport coinciding with his love for Kimi Raikkonen. He is also an ardent follower of Sebastian Vettel and Aston Martin Racing.

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