September 25, 2021

How did Verstappen lose pole in ‘dominant’ qualy?

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Max Verstappen was fastest in every Turkish GP session before pole shootout, when Racing Point’s Lance Stroll pipped him on intermediate tyres; Watch Sunday’s race at Istanbul Park at 10.10am on Sky F1

By Matt Morlidge

Last Updated: 14/11/20 4:57pm

Max Verstappen bemoaned an “extremely disappointing” missed pole opportunity at the Turkish GP after losing out to Lance Stroll in the dying embers of a qualifying session he dominated.

Verstappen, fastest in all three practice sessions, looked set to continue his perfect Istanbul weekend as he surged clear of the field in treacherous qualifying conditions – ahead by two seconds in both Q1 and Q2 – but failed to replicate the same form after being pitted for intermediate tyres in Q3.

Sergio Perez first moved ahead of Verstappen before team-mate Stroll grabbed top spot, which the Dutchman couldn’t wrestle back despite a personal best on his final lap – 0.290s slower than the Racing Point.

It was a wild end to a wet and wild session, but Verstappen was upset after losing out on what would have been just the third pole position of his career, seemingly unhappy with his team for changing his tyres.

“It was very tricky on the intermediate whereas on the extreme tyre we were very comfortable, no big issues,” Verstappen told Sky F1. “So clearly something is not working for us on that tyre.

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Lance Stroll claimed his maiden pole in Turkey, finishing ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Racing Point team-mate Sergio Perez

Lance Stroll claimed his maiden pole in Turkey, finishing ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Racing Point team-mate Sergio Perez

“It’s of course extremely disappointing when you’re first in every session and then when it matters… it’s not what I like but it can’t be all the time positive.

“I’m still second… but I always want the best, I always try to do better.”

Verstappen was hailed as a “genius” for his earlier form in the wet conditions, but added to Sky F1’s Rachel Brookes: “That’s why I’m very p****d off because when it matters it’s not happening.”

Red Bull’s pit decision was a risky one considering Verstappen was flying on the full wet tyres, but it was also one most other teams in the final shootout made, including Racing Point, as conditions improved.

Team boss Christian Horner believed Verstappen would have had pole if not for a mistake at Turn 7.

“We struggled to turn the inter on compared to the extreme,” admitted Horner. “Max had looked supreme in Q1 and Q2, and then he got caught behind Kimi for a couple of laps which didn’t allow him to really turn the tyres on.

“Then that final lap, he had a snap and he lost about six-tenths of a second at Turn 7.

“To miss out on pole is obviously really disappointing for him. After having been so dominant, it’s disappointing to lose out right at the last moment.”

Starting on the front row, Verstappen still has a great grid slot for Sunday’s race – which is live only on Sky Sports F1 at 10.10am.