We are now getting used to seeing 23-year-old Max Verstappen grabbing pole positions. While he didn't improve in his last run, with a 1m 03.720s lap, the Dutchman will be starting off from pole from the third race in a row on Sunday.
Even if he delivered two good enough laps to sit on top of the field, Verstappen opened up on the radio expressing a lot of frustration on how the final stage of qualifying went.
Because he went out on his own in Q3, he could not pick up a tow from anyone ahead. Immediately after crossing the line, he told his engineer: "we will never, ever do that again, to go first", adding: "That was P1, but we'll talk about it later."
Speaking in parc fermé shortly after grabbing pole, the Red Bull driver explained his discontent with how he topped qualifying.
"I think it was pretty bad," Verstappen said when asked to talk through his pole lap.
"I'm of course happy to be first, but not the way we got it. So, something to look into.
"But of course to be twice on pole nevertheless here is very good. Hopefully, we can finish it off tomorrow."
The Dutch driver explained what went wrong in the session saying that a lock-up on his first Q3 lap and a lack of slipstream on his second attempt left him pretty frustrated.
"Q1 and Q2 were very good I think, it was all going really smooth and the laps were good enough," Verstappen stated.
“Just in Q3, the first lap, I locked up at Turn 3. It wasn't amazing, and, yeah, the second one I was the first car out so I just lost time on the straights. So, couldn't improve my lap, even with a more normal Turn 3.
"So it was still good enough for first but I would have liked to just have a better Q3."
Having no tow could have been a problem for Verstappen since he edged out surprise pole-contender Lando Norris by only 0.048 seconds.
The last three races at the Red Bull Ring have been won from pole, and with Red Bull liking their car in race mode, these are clear signs for the rest of the field – especially if we consider the two Mercedes qualified 4th and 5th.
Verstappen has a real chance to further increase his advantage over Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton – who announced he’s staying with the team until 2023. However, he will start with softer compounds compared to last week’s race, which might be challenging to deal with, with a track temperature expected to be higher than 50 degrees Celsius.
"The compounds are softer compared to last week, so it will be tough to manage those in the race," Verstappen said.
"But besides that, I think, yeah, just try to focus on our own race and then, of course, we'll try to win it. But it's never straightforward."