Max Verstappen is “happy to qualify second for 2021 Qatar Grand Prix after enduring “an up and down weekend” in Losail.
Verstappen has continued to encounter rear wing issues this weekend of which were a common theme in Mexico and Brazil, as he finished third in FP3 before achieving a front-row start in Qualifying after finishing second-fastest behind title rival, Lewis Hamilton.
The 24 year-old though feels that he has had “an up and down weekend” after failing to have the pace to match Mercedes except for FP1, which left him “shocked” after finishing 0.455 seconds off Hamilton at end of Q3, which is the largest gap between the top two in Qualifying this season.
Verstappen though is concerned about Red Bull’s Qualifying performance after taking just one pole position in the last five races, as he admitted that Saturdays have been “a struggle” and has vowed to review where they are experiencing issues ahead of the final two races.
Looking ahead to the race, Verstappen has warned fans to not “expect miracles” but is hopeful that the nature of this race marking the first Qatar GP opens the possibility of surprises, despite the “difficult” nature of following cars and potential mixture of tyre strategies.
Verstappen though will have to fight both Mercedes drivers alone after Sergio Perez suffered a shock Q2 exit as he qualified 11th.
Perez post-session admitted that Qualifying was “crazy” but felt that he “didn’t put it together when it mattered”, having made changes in tyre preparation approach which prevented him from delivering the laps that he had wanted to achieve amidst traffic issues which proved costly.
The Mexican however is confident that he can push forward in the race as he said: “It has been a disappointing day but Sunday is what matters and hopefully we are able to recover and minimise the damage.”