Cool-down footage captures Max Verstappen issue over Imola GP grid slots

Jamie Woodhouse
A close-up shot of Max Verstappen preparing for the start of the Miami Grand Prix

Max Verstappen prepares for the start of the 2024 Miami Grand Prix

Imola GP winner Max Verstappen felt the “awkward angle” of the P1 and P3 grid slots did him no favours at the start of the race.

Verstappen maintained his 100 per cent pole position record at Imola, but with the McLarens getting within a tenth of his pole effort, the seeds were sown for a potential thrilling battle for Grand Prix victory to come.

Max Verstappen not happy with Imola grid slot

Just like in Miami, where Norris became an F1 race winner for the first time, the McLaren driver once more brought the fight to Verstappen, though this time the Championship leader held on, clinching the win by just seven-tenths over Norris.

And as the pair headed to the cool-down room, along with P3 finisher Charles Leclerc, who launched from that grid position, Verstappen would express his dissatisfaction with the P1 and P3 grid slots, claiming they are at “such an awkward angle” for the race start.

“I’m not sure the left side is best for P1 and P3,” he said.

“On the start, it’s always such an awkward angle.”

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Nonetheless, Verstappen was able to fend off Norris at the start and pulled away on the medium tyres, but it was during the second stint, where he and Norris swapped to hards, that the momentum swung back in Norris’ favour as the Brit fell just short of mounting an overtaking attempt for the win.

Verstappen confirmed that he had “no grip anymore” in those closing stages, but what he had left was ultimately enough to secure the win.

“The whole race I had to push flat-out to try to be able to try and make a gap initially,” said Verstappen.

“I think on the medium tyres we were quite strong. On the hard tyres, which is a bit more difficult to manage, especially in the last 10, 15 laps, I had no grip anymore. I was really sliding a lot.

“I saw Lando closing in, so the last 10 laps was just flat-out, but it’s very difficult when the tyres are not working anymore and you have to go flat-out.

“So I couldn’t afford to make too many mistakes. Luckily we didn’t and super happy of course to win here today.”

Asked how he and Red Bull were able to turn their race weekend around, having started out off the pace in practice, Verstappen replied: “I mean, we changed a lot on the car.

“Of course, we didn’t have a lot of information going into the race. Maybe that’s why on the hard tyres it was a bit more difficult for us, but I think from where we started the weekend to now, we can be incredibly pleased with a pole and a win, so I will take that.”

This latest triumph was Verstappen’s third in a row at Imola.

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