Max Verstappen summed up his frustration in the Turkish Grand Prix qualifying press conference by saying: “I think this is the first time this year I sit here upset.”
Despite securing a P2 start for the first F1 race in Istanbul since 2011, Verstappen was disappointed it had not been pole position having been fastest of all throughout the weekend until the session when it mattered most.
Red Bull had adapted best to a slippery, newly-resurfaced track – certainly better than their arch-rivals Mercedes – and also looked the pick of the bunch during a wet qualifying session.
Until, that is, the circuit began to dry and Verstappen’s car was fitted with intermediate tyres instead of the full wets. They did not work as well and in the end, the Dutchman was pipped to pole position by Lance Stroll in the Racing Point.
Struggled a lot to find grip on the intermediates 🌧 I’m disappointed that pole slipped through my fingers, but in the end I can’t complain with first row #KeepPushing #TurkishGP 🇹🇷 pic.twitter.com/eTFqPVkvEI
— Max Verstappen (@Max33Verstappen) November 14, 2020
After climbing out of the car, Verstappen was clearly angry and was subsequently pictured sitting on the floor trying to compose himself while being consoled by a Red Bull team member.
“I think this is the first time this year I sit here upset, I think that says it all,” said Verstappen at the press conference, clearly annoyed at the choice of tyres for his final run.
“It’s very disappointing to be P2. A very hard one to take. When you are first in every session and then come out second it’s extremely disappointing.
“Already in Q1 when we tried to go out on the inters we had no grip. The track was a lot better in Q3, but for us the inters were horrible, very tricky, whereas the extreme tyres were good and we were very comfortable. No big issues.
“I was going faster but I had no grip compared to the balance I had before. Probably it was the right tyre to be on but it wasn’t good like that. Something isn’t working for us on that tyre.
“We should have been doing better switching to that tyre compared to what we were doing before, so we definitely missed something there.”
The good news for Verstappen is that the front two rows have been locked out by Racing Point and Red Bull, with Daniel Ricciardo’s Renault then ahead of the first Mercedes, of Lewis Hamilton, in sixth.
As a result, the bookmakers have got Verstappen as odds-on favourite to win the race.
However, when asked if he would rather be in pole position with the two Mercedes cars immediately behind him, Verstappen replied: “You can’t look at other people’s performance to judge your performance, you have to look at yourself. And clearly in Q3 it was not good. That’s why I’m so upset.
“We can still do well tomorrow. The points are tomorrow so I just hope we have a good race.
“It can’t always be happy times. Hopefully we will have a good time tomorrow.”