‘Mad Max’ will start from 5 positions behind his well-earned 4th slot on timesheet this afternoon: on the round before home GP, Honda decided to stretch the legs of their PU in order to check if everything is on place for a big opportunity to score a solid performance in front of the Japanese staff.
The qualifying went well, as Max admitted he gave everything, despite losing time on straight compared to the Cavallino cars:
“It was all right except I’ve picked up a little bit of dirt and I think perhaps there’s a little bit more in the last sector where I’ve been quicker in general. There’s not much more I think we can do: I’ve just how much time we lose in the straight compared to Ferrari. Yesterday we were in the same pace but today we lose almost a second so You can’t really fight them.
Tomorrow’s strategy looks like to be out of his and team Red Bull power; if anything happens at the Sochi Autodrom there are any guarantees that result will be any better that P5:
“It doesn’t really matter what You can do. Realistically speaking P5 is the maximum I can do, so to make yourself a little bit easier You take the fastest tyre. Soft [I think] it’s the way to go [for the starting tyre choice]. […] Maybe we’ll have a very good first lap and everything can change over the Safety Car.
We aimed and hoped for more, but qualifying fourth was the best we could achieve today. With the grid penalty we will have some work to do during the race! #KeepPushing #RussianGP 🇷🇺 pic.twitter.com/egD6FTg3qm— Max Verstappen (@Max33Verstappen) September 28, 2019
Then as Alexander Albon crashed his RB19 on the barriers of turn 13, a question about teammates gave the chance for re-establish the famous proudness of Max in being the No. 1 for Red Bull in F1:
“I think I’m definitively like the car: to compare performances [with teammates] is really tricky. I try to push as hard as I can, I try to be as closest as possible to Mercedes and Ferrari. We know sometimes are a bit better than others; I think in general we’re so lacking to the top teams. Well, today I was happy I could have been in front of one Mercedes: the lap was good, there wasn’t much more that was satisfying. […] At the end of the day I think we design the car as fast as possible because if it’s good in qualifying should be good in the race: I don’t You go into a year and design the car around the race package. So, for me in qualifying as in the race it’s the same.