Max Verstappen is expecting a “really exciting battle” with Lewis Hamilton during tomorrow’s British Grand Prix, but expressed concern over Red Bull’s straight-line speed.
Verstappen started Saturday’s Sprint Qualifying second before jumping Hamilton at the start and holding his rival off to claim pole position and three championship points.
The Dutchman looked to have the pace advantage, but with both drivers suffering blistering strategy will certainly play a role on Sunday.
Speaking after the first ever Sprint Qualifying session, Verstappen said that he and Hamilton were “pushing each other hard”.
“Around here it’s difficult to pass but we had a good start and a good fight with Lewis in the first lap and then we tried to do our own pace but you could see we were pushing each other hard,” he said.
“You could see at the end of the race the tyres were blistering a lot, so we had to manage that to the end. But nevertheless, happy to have scored those three points.
“It sounds a bit funny to then hear you scored a pole position, but anyway we will take it and I think it will be a really exciting battle tomorrow.”
While Red Bull are still in the driving seat, Mercedes have closed the gap compared to Austria, with Verstappen highlighting straight-line speed as a potential area of weakness.
“We started the race on lower fuel and then we really push these cars through the fast corners lap after lap so it is very hard on tyres but it’s the same for everyone so we have to deal with it,” he added.
“We are not allowed to touch the car. We are quick in corners, so that’s where we have to make sure we do the same tomorrow.
“The straight-line speed, that’s the thing, after FP1 you cannot make any changes so that’s a bit tricky for us now but we will have to deal with it. I sill think we can have a very strong race.”