Max Verstappen shows his true colours

Max Verstappen managed to secure pole position but was lucky to avoid an early exit in Q2, scrapping through to Q3 by a small margin.

During a thrilling qualifying session at the Belgian Grand Prix, Max Verstappen showcased his championship-winning skills by securing pole position. 

However, the session was not without its drama as the Dutchman engaged in a fiery exchange with his race engineer, Gianpiero Lambiase. Despite the intense on-track action and radio frustrations, Verstappen managed to secure the top spot on the grid for Sunday’s race.

On a rapidly drying Spa-Francorchamps circuit, Verstappen narrowly avoided a Q2 exit, scraping through in the 10th position. 

Frustration boiled over during the session, and Verstappen expressed his feelings candidly over the team radio to Lambiase.

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“We should have just ******* pushed two laps in a row like I said,” Verstappen began, continuing, “I don’t give a f*** mate if I’m through in P10. It’s just s*** execution.”

Lambiase defended the strategy, explaining that pushing two consecutive laps might have left Verstappen without enough energy for the crucial final lap in Q2. 

However, the engineer assured Verstappen that they would align on the plan for Q3.

In the top-10 shootout, Verstappen showed his true pace and dominance, posting a stunning 1:46.168 lap time, leading the timesheets by almost a second ahead of his closest challenger. 

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Despite the impressive performance, Verstappen will start from the sixth position on the grid due to a five-place penalty for exceeding his gearbox allowance.

After the qualifying session, Verstappen apologised to Lambiase for the heated radio exchange, indicating that such emotional moments occasionally occur but are quickly resolved between them.

During the press conference, Verstappen downplayed the incident, stating, “That happens sometimes, most of it is normally always blocked off. I think we can both be quite vocal or emotional, but we always solve it afterwards, so it’s all good.”

Charles Leclerc, who qualified second, will benefit from Verstappen’s penalty and will start on pole for Sunday’s race. 

The Ferrari driver admitted to struggling with his aggressive driving style in certain track conditions. 

However, he made crucial adjustments for Spa, which proved successful.

Leclerc explained, “I have quite an aggressive driving style and in those conditions it just didn’t work for me. 

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“I was making too many mistakes and difficult to build from a solid base, so I changed a little bit of the approach, and it seems to be better.”

The Monegasque driver emphasised the subtle changes in driving style and car setup that significantly impacted his confidence and lap times. 

These adjustments allowed Leclerc to adapt to the challenging Spa circuit, giving him an edge in qualifying.