Max Verstappen has expressed his surprise at the result of qualifying for the United States Grand Prix, round 17 of the 2021 Formula 1 World Championship, after Mercedes’ very strong entry in this round.
The Red Bull driver was about a second behind the Mercedes duo in Share the first experiences At Austin, the rest of the drivers were half a second behind.
In the qualifying sessionVerstappen managed to set the fastest time and lead Mercedes driver and title rival Lewis Hamilton by 0.224 seconds.
“After the first practice session, I felt the difference was big, but I think we improved the car quietly,” Verstappen said after achieving a ninth pole of his career. Today we made this big leap, it’s a great effort from the whole team.”
However, Verstappen is not entirely comfortable behind the wheel of a Red Bull RB16P this weekend, especially when he set his time on soft tires in qualifying.
“Things were a bit choppy, I found it very difficult at the weekend to get the most out of the car,” said the Dutchman. Even in qualifying, I had to do my best behind the wheel. My speed was good on medium tires in the second part of the session, and I felt it suited me better in terms of driving.”
He continued, “My lap was not perfect in the third part of the session, I was not able to extract the same amount of power that I had in the second part, so I had to press a lot in the second lap.”
The Dutchman admitted that he was a little surprised by his ability to beat Mercedes and Hamilton on this circuit known for the German manufacturer’s superiority over it throughout the hybrid era.
“It surprised me a bit,” he said, “but you can see that the championship swings between us throughout the season, fortunately of course.”
However, Verstappen does not believe that today’s result in Austin proves that Red Bull will beat Mercedes in the remaining races of the championship.