Max Verstappen said it “doesn’t matter” if he and Red Bull win the Abu Dhabi GP, because his pole was already “amazing”.
In the final round of the 2020 season a non-Mercedes powered car finally took pole in the form of Verstappen in the Red Bull RB16.
His 1:35.246 was even more impressive considering Yas Marina is a stronghold for Mercedes with the Silver Arrows taking victory here every year since 2014, and Verstappen said it was nice for one of his strong Q3 laps in 2020 to finally result in a pole position, his first of the season.
“This year I think I’ve had quite a few good quali laps, but it was never enough for pole position,” he told Sky F1.
“So to finally have at least one I think for the whole team is a great achievement, we’ve been really working hard the whole season to try to close that gap to Mercedes.
“And of course they have a different strategy in how they develop their car, but for us it was all about understanding the car, to make it better for next year and to do that today, to be first, I was very happy for the whole team.”
Red Bull principal Christian Horner was full of praise for Verstappen after his pole lap in Abu Dhabi, speaking of the value of having a driver like Verstappen who is always on form.
But the Dutchman said it works both ways, crediting the fun environment he gets to work in at Red Bull.
“Absolutely, I have a great relationship with the whole team, it’s a lot of fun,” he said when asked if his relationship with Red Bull is a two-way street.
“Because at the end of the day of course Formula 1 is about performance, but you also need to have a bit of fun in the team, you need to have good people and fun people around you, and I have that.
“Every time I come to the track it’s just very nice and when you can rely on your mechanics and you can rely on management as well I really enjoy sitting in the car.
“Of course you do want to win, we want to win Championships, we are just working flat out to try to be there, hopefully next year we can try to be closer to them [Mercedes].”
— Aston Martin Red Bull Racing (@redbullracing) December 12, 2020
Verstappen believes Mercedes will have a surprise up their sleeves in terms of strategy for the Abu Dhabi GP, but after an “amazing” first pole of the season, he said victory in Abu Dhabi, a potential second P1 of 2022, “doesn’t matter”.
“I still expect them to put the pressure on me, I do feel because we have the medium tyre we will drive off, they will try maybe to do a bit of a different strategy, but for me in the end this was an amazing day already, and it doesn’t matter if you win tomorrow,” he explained.
“But of course we’ll do everything we can to win that race.”