Max Verstappen has highlighted the importance of making moves quickly at the Belgian Grand Prix as he seeks to finish on the rostrum.
The Dutchman, along with title rival Charles Leclerc, came into the weekend with engine penalties that would see him start at the back of the grid.
There was a saving grace though, in that Mick Schumacher, Lando Norris, Esteban Ocon and Zhou Guanyu will also all be starting further back, so the Dutchman was fighting Leclerc for 15th place on the grid for Sunday’s race.
Throughout practice, Verstappen and team-mate Sergio Perez seemed as though they had more underneath them than Leclerc and Carlos Sainz did at Ferrari, partially owing to the straight-line speed of the Red Bull car.
However, hooking up a lap at Spa Francorchamps takes immense skill and bravery, so Verstappen taking pole by six tenths of a second from Sainz was no small achievement.
Sadly for him, it counts for little, as he will be starting the race from further back anyway, but the exquisite pace he has possessed this weekend could very well help him climb back up the order.
As for the events of Saturday though, Verstappen took a lot of pleasure out of driving the RB18 in Belgium.
“The car has been on it the whole weekend,” he said in the media pen after the session.
“It’s been really enjoyable to drive I think, and it’s all about fine tuning when you have a balance like that, and that’s what we did.
“We made a few changes before qualifying and I think that worked even better, so just very happy with the lap I did.”
The reigning world champion won the Hungarian Grand Prix from 10th on the grid and, theoretically, it is easier to pass at Spa than it is at the Hungaroring.
But it is still imperative to make the most of those overtaking opportunities, and climb up the order quickly.
“It’s a bit easier but also it’s a long track, but not that many laps of course because of that,” explained Verstappen.
“And there are only a few overtaking possibilities, so you have to do it quick and try not to lose too much time to the guys ahead of you.
“We’ll see, I’m targeting a podium, and with a bit of luck we can fight for the win.”
Sainz will lead Perez away on Sunday, with Fernando Alonso, Sir Lewis Hamilton and George Russell behind them.
Following an amazing performance of his own in qualifying, Alex Albon will start sixth for Williams, with Daniel Ricciardo, Pierre Gasly and Lance Stroll rounding out the top 10.