Verstappen pleased to make the most of ‘hectic’ qualy

Henry Valantine
Charles Leclerc, Max Verstappen and Lando Norris. Imola April 2022.

The top three in qualifying (left to right), Charles Leclerc, Max Verstappen and Lando Norris. Imola April 2022.

Max Verstappen was happy to get through a “hectic” qualifying session at Imola – and even more so for taking pole position at the end of it.

The Red Bull driver ended up almost eight tenths of a second faster than Charles Leclerc in Q3, despite having to slow down for yellow flags on his fastest lap, in ever-changing conditions at Imola that saw him on track at the right moment.

Five red flags interrupted the qualifying session as several drivers ran into issues, with three red flags coming in Q3 alone and ultimately scuppering the final attempts at flying laps through Lando Norris sliding into the barriers with less than a minute remaining.

The continual changes of weather led to tough times for the drivers on track as they searched for the best lap times possible, but Verstappen eventually came out on top – and he added he is pleased to be driving at a circuit that “punishes” errors – with Carlos Sainz, Kevin Magnussen and Norris all having ended up in the gravel at Imola in one form or another.

But that kind of challenge is what the World Champion enjoys.

“It was tricky out there – dry and then the rain,” he said in parc fermé straight after qualifying. “It was very slippery to also get the tyre temps to work. It was hectic, a long qualifying.

“In the end, happy to be here. It’s an amazing track and it also really punishes you if you make a mistake, you can go in the wall. That is what we like to make it really hard and difficult, but [I’m] really pleased with pole position.”

Sprint qualifying follows on Saturday, with World Championship points available to the top eight finishers over a one-third race distance, in a frantic dash that will set the grid for Sunday’s grand prix.


Ferrari had appeared to have the edge over Red Bull in the wet practice session earlier in the day, but Verstappen will take things as they come at Imola.

“We know tomorrow and Sunday will be a bit different in terms of weather conditions but at least it’s a good start to the weekend,” he concluded.


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