Max Verstappen has acknowledged the work done by Ferrari over the winter as Charles Leclerc took pole for the 2022 Bahrain Grand Prix.
Verstappen, having set a purple first sector on his final run in Q3, missed out to the Monegasque, but was able to split the Ferraris as he beat Carlos Sainz to second place.
The Dutchman is unsure as to whether Ferrari’s pole is entirely down to the Scuderia’s performance or whether there was more pace left to find in the Red Bull car.
“It’s a bit difficult to tell,” he told David Coulthard after qualifying.
“It was a bit hit and miss, Q2 seemed quite good, then Q3 was a bit more of a struggle to get the balance together, but nevertheless I think it was alright.
“We have a good car, a good race car as well which at the end of the day is the most important but yeah it was a good day overall.
“It’s a good start to the new era.”
The 20-time race winner was asked how he found the balance of the car under the completely different technical regulations introduced this season.
“[It did not feel] fantastic, also not too bad otherwise you cannot be in this position,” he replied.
“There are a few things of course to look into and in the end we will try to do better for next time but here you want to be good in qualifying of course and you also really want to make sure your car is working for the race because the tyres are really struggling a lot more there and it’s a bit different to some other tracks.
“It was nice, [we had a] really close battle with Carlos and Charles of course at the end so they did a really good job over the winter and hopefully it’s going to be an exciting race.”
The Mercedes pair of Sir Lewis Hamilton and George Russell ended the evening fifth and ninth respectively, so was the 24-year-old disheartened to see that the Silver Arrows were not able to join the battle for pole?
“Very, very,” was his jovial reply.