Verstappen: Qualy could have been much worse

Date published: March 30 2019

Max Verstappen is happy with P5 for the Bahrain GP, saying qualifying "could have been much worse".

Max Verstappen is happy to have put his Red Bull in P5 for the Bahrain Grand Prix, claiming qualifying could have ended “much worse”.

The Dutchman struggled to break away from the midfield pack throughout qualifying, but pipped the Haas of Kevin Magnussen by 0.005s to claim P5.

In what has been a difficult weekend for the team so far, Verstappen was very content with P5 for the race tomorrow.

“Qualifying was very difficult. I am glad that I am starting from fifth position, because it could have been much worse,” he told reporters in Sakhir.

“Beforehand I did not know what to expect from qualifying, because I did not know where we were at.

“I already struggled the whole weekend with the balance of my car and I am still not happy with it. That was the same in qualifying.

“We have tried all kinds of things, but did not find a solution. We have done the best we could, but we cannot be satisfied with what we have shown today.”

Verstappen has been vocal throughout the weekend about the pace Red Bull have shown on the medium tyres, but now he says he doesn’t want to think about that yet.

“That is right, but with the balance of today, I do not want to think of that yet”, he explained.

“I am glad I am starting from P5. We will see tomorrow how the car responds.

“In some way we cannot get the soft tyres to work this weekend, so I hope that the medium compound is more competitive.”

If it was a bad day at the office for Verstappen, spare a thought for Pierre Gasly who will start the race from P13 tomorrow.

The Frenchman failed to make it out of Q1 in Melbourne, and he is still struggling with the “unpredictable” RB15.

“Since the beginning of the weekend, we’ve struggled, especially with the rear,” he stated.

“We tried many things but we didn’t improve with the car. This weekend I don’t really feel comfortable. I was wheel spinning a lot, it was quite unpredictable.

“I didn’t put everything together and when it’s so tight like this, I missed out by six-hundredths, it costs quite a lot.”

Gasly enjoyed the best weekend of his career in Bahrain last season, qualifying P6 before claiming P4 in the race for Toro Rosso.

But this time around, he claims that the Red Bull will not allow him to drive how he wants to.

“Last year I really felt like I could do what I wanted with the car in Bahrain,” he said.

“At the moment, I can’t really drive how I want. Like I said, it’s quite unpredictable, so sometimes I turn, nothing happens, the next corner I turn and lose the rear.

“So it’s really unpredictable at the moment. We tried something in qualifying which didn’t improve anything. I need a bit more time, I need to look with the engineers to see what we can do to make it more consistent to drive so at least I can predict what’s going to happen.”

Gasly confirmed that he also had these handling problems at pre-season testing, but they proved less problematic.

“A bit, yeah. Maybe not at the same extent, but at testing I felt [the problems]. At this track, it’s a bit bigger,” said the 23-year-old.

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