Verstappen optimistic after DRS failure hinders Spanish GP qualifying

Max Verstappen was beaten to pole in Spain by Charles Leclerc after a DRS issue late on.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen notes that the Red Bull has generally been softer on its tyres than Ferrari in the last two races as he aims to snatch the win from second on the grid.

Having taken pole in Imola in round four, Verstappen was beaten to pole by Charles Leclerc in Miami, but in both those races he was able to comfortably escape the pack behind him and claim dominant victories, although a late Safety Car in Florida threatened to bring the Monegasque back into play at the end.

Both Leclerc and team-mate Carlos Sainz have raised concerns over Ferrari’s tyre degradation this weekend, but their qualifying pace was on display again as the Monegasque claimed his fourth pole of the season with a terrific late run.

That came after the 24-year-old had spun on his initial effort, but the Dutchman was not able to respond at the end of Q3 because of DRS troubles as Red Bull continue to affront small yet costly issues with their car.

Verstappen cannot say whether pole was on the cards had he been able to complete his second Q3 lap, but he certainly would have loved to be able to complete it having missed out on a final run for the second race running.

“I mean it’s always difficult to tell but yeah I couldn’t do my final run,” he explained.

“Either the DRS didn’t open or I just lost power so it’s bit of a shame but I think 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 that final run.”

The reigning champion is aware that his car is better on its tyres than the Ferrari is, but he also maintains that the Circuit de Catalunya is a very difficult track to pass at – 22 of the 32 races in Barcelona have been won from pole.

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“Last two races we seemed pretty decent on the tyres,” added Verstappen.

“Of course tomorrow again will be very hot, very warm.

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“This track will be quite hard to pass but let’s see. Hopefully of course our car will be again a bit kinder on the tyres but [it’s a] bit difficult to tell at the moment.”

Verstappen will be sandwiched on the grid by the Ferraris on Sunday after Sainz qualified third, and his team-mate Sergio Perez could only manage fifth behind George Russell.