Max Verstappen defiant after being upstaged by Lewis Hamilton in Hungary pole battle

Jamie Woodhouse
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes and Max Verstappen, Red Bull, post-qualifying. Hungary, July 2023.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes and Max Verstappen, Red Bull., exit their cars after qualifying. Hungary, July 2023.

While Max Verstappen says Red Bull were “all over the shop” in Hungary as Lewis Hamilton beat him to pole, the World Championship leader does believe the upgraded RB19 is delivering.

On a run of five poles and six wins in succession, Verstappen understandably went into the Hungarian Grand Prix as overwhelming favourite to claim that P1 spot on the grid, but Hamilton had other plans.

Having not been on pole since Saudi Arabia 2021, Hamilton ended his wait by snatching pole from Verstappen at the Hungaroring by a margin of just 0.003s.

Max Verstappen insists Red Bull upgrades worked

While the chasing pack have been firing out the upgrades in a bid to reel Red Bull back in, the Austrian outfit had been enjoying a quieter life on the upgrades front…until Hungary.

But, with the upgraded RB19 tipped to be worth a few tenths in lap time, Verstappen was asked after qualifying whether the alterations have truly delivered since Hamilton ended his streak of poles?

“I think the update works,” Verstappen affirmed.

“But I think we just didn’t really put everything together setup wise, because I think today was just all over the shop and not exactly where we wanted to be.” recommends

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Delving deeper into those struggles, Verstappen said his opening Q3 run was more positive after a “really difficult” Q1 and Q2, but when it came to that all-important final effort for pole, that improved feeling drained away and he could not improve.

That opened the door for Hamilton, who proceeded to boot it down.

Asked what happened on that last lap, Verstappen replied: “Not much happened. I’ve been struggling the whole weekend to find a good balance. Every session has been up and down.

“Today also in qualifying, really difficult, Q1 and Q2 to just feel confident to really attack corners.

“I thought my first run in Q3 was quite good, but then second round again no feeling, tried to push a little bit more, you lose the rear, you lose the front.

“I mean, it was still second, but I think we should be ahead with the car we have normally, but so far this weekend I think we haven’t been on it.”

As former title rivals Verstappen and Hamilton prepare to launch from the front row on Sunday, they will need to remain wary of the McLarens on row two, Lando Norris qualifying P3 ahead of Oscar Piastri as their upgraded MCL60 continues to deliver the goods.

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