Max Verstappen critical of ‘difficult’ track limits: It takes the joy out of it

Thomas Maher
Red Bull's Max Verstappen in action at the Red Bull Ring. Spielberg, June 2023.

Red Bull's Max Verstappen in action at the Red Bull Ring. Spielberg, June 2023.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen may have survived the challenge of the track limits in qualifying, but wasn’t enjoying the situation.

The reigning World Champion took pole position for the Austrian Grand Prix in Friday’s qualifying session, putting in a 1:04.3 on his final run to pip Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc by less than a tenth of a second.

But the Red Bull driver had to gather himself back up after his first flying run in Q2 was deleted as a result of going outside the white lines in the final sector – an issue that saw teammate Sergio Perez eliminated entirely in Q2 as his laps were deleted.

Max Verstappen: We don’t do this on purpose

Speaking to the media after clinching pole position, Verstappen opened up on the frustration of the track limits as he said worrying about the white lines took away from the fun of threading his way around the Red Bull Ring.

“It was very difficult because of all the track limits,” he said.

“We don’t do this on purpose but, with these speeds and all these high-speed corners, it’s so hard to judge the white line really.

“That’s why I think you could see today a lot of people were getting caught out, including myself, so, honestly, it was about surviving, even in Q3.

PlanetF1.com recommends

Austrian Grand Prix: Max Verstappen sees off Charles Leclerc charge for pole

Fastest F1 pit stops: Red Bull take pit lane one-two with superb Canada stops

“Like the first lap, you just want the banker lap, which takes out the joy a little bit, but I think we still did a good enough lap.

“So yeah, I’m very happy with being on pole but it’s still a very long weekend ahead as well.”

The issue of track limits frequently comes up at the Red Bull Ring as a result of the unique nature of the final sector, and Verstappen said the challenge facing the drivers is perhaps under-estimated as they have to try keeping their wheels on the correct side of a very narrow white line.

“It’s always very tricky around here every year,” he said.

“The cars are big and heavy but just to judge it on a line this wide, at this speed, is incredibly hard.”

Max Verstappen: The car is clearly quick

Having taken pole for Sunday’s race, Verstappen now faces into the Saturday Sprint day having to do the same feat again ahead of the Sprint race, and the Dutch driver said it’s evident the RB19 is competitive for the two tough days ahead.

“We know that this is probably a different weekend with the whole format but, of course, I’m very happy with today,” he said.

“Tomorrow, again, is a very different day, I mean. But, at least, the car is quick and that’s, I think, the most important.”

Read Next: Alpine boss explains how Ryan Reynolds’ investment enables ‘fight with the bigger teams’