Pole-sitter Max Verstappen warns Red Bull ‘crazy things’ can happen in a race

Sam Cooper
Max Verstappen speaks with Red Bull F1 team-mate Sergio Perez. Bahrain, March 2023.

Max Verstappen speaking with Sergio Perez.

Max Verstappen has reminded his team not to take anything for granted as “crazy things” can happen during a race.

Saturday could hardly have gone better for the reigning Constructors’ champions with Verstappen securing pole and his team-mate Sergio Perez in P2, confirming a Red Bull front row lockout.

But Verstappen himself was not entirely happy, admitting the RB19 felt more uncomfortable during the practice sessions than it had done in testing, even if he did manage to secure the first P1 of the season.

Even with a front row lockout and seemingly the quickest car on the grid, Verstappen warned that it was not job done yet as plenty of “crazy things” can happen during a race.

“I’m particularly happy because my whole weekend up until qualifying was very difficult,” Verstappen told media including PlanetF1.com of his pole position. “I couldn’t really find the comfortable balance that I had in testing and I was just struggling a lot to just get the car together really.

“I went into Q1 and everything already felt a bit better, but it was still not, let’s say, perfect.

“Of course, we have shown really good race pace [last season], but we still need to show that tomorrow. A lot of things can happen during a race, which sometimes is not in your control, so we just need to focus on ourselves and try to do the best we can. Hopefully no crazy things will happen.”

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Perez admitted similarly that he felt more uncomfortable with the car compared to testing and said the team sacrificed qualifying speed so that they would have a quicker race car.

“Just like Max said, the balance has been really different from testing,” the Mexican said.

“We’ve done plenty of kilometres here but we came to the race weekend and we found a very different balance to testing. So we’ve been working our way through, we’ve been making massive changes from one side to the other.

“I think in the end, we knew we had to compromise a bit with the qualifying pace for tomorrow. So hopefully that will pay off.

“Generally, I wasn’t that comfortable with my balance in qualifying. But I think as I progressed, I was able to learn my way around the balance I had and get a good Q3 lap in the end, but not enough to beat Max.”