Max Verstappen finished qualifying for the 2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix fourth, as Sergio Perez took pole, pressing the Dutchman to say, his car has potential, despite his problems with it.
The 2021 Formula 1 World Champion had a disappointing qualifying in Jeddah on Saturday, with fourth being the best he could achieve, after being tipped to take the battle to Charles Leclerc in the Ferrari for pole.
It was his teammate Sergio Perez who took a sensational pole, however, and the as the 24-year-old was left ruing his inability to extract more pace from his RB18.
“I think in Q1 and Q2, everything was looking quite well,” Verstappen said to Sky Sports F1, after qualifying in Jeddah Saturday night.
“It was just my first set [of tyres] in Q3 was terrible. I don’t know, it was like a completely different feeling with the tyres; they were just moving around a lot more, and so it was really difficult for me to drive.
“When you have that bad of a build up and rhythm, and you go onto your second tyre set… I just didn’t really feel comfortable and also, that tyre set, I couldn’t really extract [time] like I did in Q1 and Q2.
“On a track where the ambient temperature is coming down and the track temperature is coming down, you should easily improve, but for me, it felt quite like flat, or even worse, throughout qualifying. It’s the first time I have [experienced] something like that, so it’s something I need to look into,” Verstappen explained.
The car has potential as Perez proved
The reigning World Champion admits there is pace in his RB18, as his teammate proved on the day, but that the problems were only specific to him.
“I’m complaining and I didn’t have a good feeling, but the potential of the car is there,” he revealed. “Checo did a great job today, so I’m very happy for him, and hopefully we can make it difficult for Ferrari also tomorrow in the race.”
Speaking later in his team report, Verstappen added: “Checo did a great job today, he put the car on pole and I’m really happy for him!
“From my side, qualifying didn’t go the way I had hoped, in Q1 and Q2 everything felt normal but in Q3 the grip was terrible, I couldn’t extract what I needed to from the tyres and I was just sliding everywhere.
“In the faster corners I couldn’t push as hard as I would have liked and when you don’t feel comfortable on a street circuit you cannot attack the corners.
“Of course I’m not happy with fourth and we’ll analyse what happened but we have a competitive car and we have a lot to fight for tomorrow as a Team. I am looking forward to it, hopefully we can have a good race,” the Red Bull ace concluded.
Congrats to @SChecoPerez on getting his first pole, very well deserved after that incredible lap 💪
P4 after quite a disappointing qualifying session for me. Couldn’t find the grip and balance to attack the corners
We have a good race car so still all to fight for tomorrow 😤 pic.twitter.com/ulcB1TOVx5
— Max Verstappen (@Max33Verstappen) March 26, 2022