It wasn't an easy qualifying session for Max Verstappen in Barcelona.
The reigning world champion was leading Q3 comfortably after the first pole attempt with a 1:19.073s, while championship leader Charles Leclerc had spun.
But while Verstappen was returning on the track to improve his previous lap time, he suffered from a "power loss", as he complained on the radio. Red Bull's Team Principal Christian Horner later clarified that he had suffered from a DRS issue.
The Red Bull driver discussed the reason why he didn't have a second shot at pole in the post qualifying interview:
"It's always difficult to tell, but yeah, I couldn't do my final run, either the DRS didn't open or I just had a loss of power."
Overall, Verstappen is still quite satisfied with his performance, even if he would have liked to try to keep his provisional pole position, which would have been his second one in 2022 after the sprint event in Imola.
"It's a bit of a shame and I think overall to be on the front row for us here, looking at the whole weekend so far, it was a good achievement, but of course I would have liked to go for the final run."
Will the Dutch driver get his fourth seasonal win tomorrow in Spain, where he also got his first win with Red Bull in 2016?
Tyre management will be key with the track's extremely high temperatures, but Verstappen doesn’t rule anything out.
"Last two races we seemed pretty decent on the tyres, of course tomorrow again will be very hot, very warm. On this track it will be quite tough to pass but let's see. “
"Hopefully, our car will be again a bit kinder on the tyres, but that's a bit difficult to tell at the moment," Verstappen concluded.
Christian Horner talked to Sky Sports UK about the DRS issue, adding that the team doesn't really know at the moment the reason behind it: "It wasn't actually power. In the end, it was a DRS that didn't open. So obviously we need to get the car back to understand what's caused, because it opened on the back straight just as a check as it came back into the pits."
He isn't too worried by the problem, as they aren't the only ones struggling to make work at best of their possibilities the new generation of cars: "You know, these things are tending to happen, we saw Ferrari change the chassis last night because of a fuel system issue.
"Unfortunately, it's hit us at inconvenient times, the last time you want it is on the last run in Q3. But as a team we work hard, we are trying to understand what the issue is. It may be as simple as a piece of rubber's got stuck in the mechanism," he summed up hopefully.
The Team Principal, however, doen't believe that his driver could have managed to get pole position today even without the car issue, as Ferrari's attempt was too strong: "I don't think we had enough today to beat that lap of Charles. A great lap by him under pressure at the end there. But yeah, I'm still pleased with the front row start."
Horner, however, doesn't believe that the almost three tenths of a second gap between Leclerc and Verstappen reflects the true difference of pace: "It was unfortunate not to have the right to reply there because I don't think we'd have beaten Charles today, but I think we would have been closer than the times suggest," he concluded.