Red Bull’s Max Verstappen is aiming for a strong performance in Sunday’s French Grand Prix after qualifying second behind Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.
Red Bull looked as though they were struggling to find pace in Friday practice as Leclerc and Carlos Sainz set the pace, but he went quickest in FP3 after the Austrian side did a lot of overnight work to dial in the car.
The Dutchman beat Leclerc in the second qualifying session as Carlos Sainz made it through to Q3, so we were set up for an exceptional shootout.
Because Sainz has a grid penalty that sees him start the race 19th for the race, he was sent out in Q3 to give Leclerc a tow, and that helped the Monegasque on his way as he took pole by over three tenths of a second.
After finding pace on Saturday morning, Verstappen was slightly disappointed that he was not able to find more performance in the RB18.
“Well, FP3 is not qualifying clearly,” he said.
“But overall I think we were lacking a bit in qualifying, just general grip, so it was a bit more tricky than I think I would have hoped.
“But overall, we still have a decent care car and hopefully tomorrow of course will come to our favour.
“I mean we are quick on the straights to hopefully we can use that tomorrow.”
The reigning champion hopes to be able to challenge Ferrari in different conditions in the race over a longer distance, but we will simply have to wait until the race to see if Red Bull are quicker.
“We’ll find out tomorrow,” said Verstappen.
“I mean, it’s also going to be a bit warmer but clearly they [Ferrari] have been really quick here.”
The French Grand Prix is the eighth time this season that Leclerc and Verstappen will start on the front row together.