Verstappen reveals race pace good after qualifying fourth in France

Courtesy of Red Bull Media Service Team

Dutchman targets podium as Ricciardo starts fifth for Sunday’s race.

Max Verstappen believes that Aston Martin Red Bull Racing have got enough race pace to grab a podium place on Sunday after Lewis Hamilton scorched to pole position at the French Grand Prix.

The Briton edged out Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas to cement the front row with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel sitting in front of Verstappen and Monaco GP winner Daniel Ricciardo.

Scuderia Toro Rosso struggled to make an impact on Saturday with Frenchman Pierre Gasly ending the day in 14th and Kiwi Brendon Hartley 17th.


Aston Martin Red Bull Racing

MAX VERSTAPPEN – Position: 4th
“I don’t think we maximised the potential of the car in Qualifying today. I was struggling a bit with front grip which didn’t make it easy, but we still qualified in fourth. It would have been nice if it had continued raining all day but unfortunately it dried up just in time for the session. We can see that on the straights we are still down on speed compared to the Mercedes but also we didn’t have the balance of the car perfect, in the long corners we were losing time also. In the race I think we will have to wait and see. My race pace looks good but so does a lot of the others and coming to a new race means anything can happen. I start on the supersoft so Sebastian should have a bit more grip, this will make it a little tricky but hopefully we will go for longer on our tyres. All weekend we haven’t really had a reference as the track is new, there are still a lot of question marks ahead of tomorrow so we just have to wait and see what happens.”

DANIEL RICCIARDO – Position: 5th
“We split the cars yesterday, on the downforce levels, with Max lower than me. It was pretty evenly matched yesterday but it looked like the low was worth trying. We put that on for this morning but with the weather we didn’t get to try it. We decided not to run in Qualifying with something we hadn’t tried yet, but we still had a lot of front wing in hand but I think by the end of Q1 we had already used every bit of it and we still had understeer. In other sessions you can do other things on the car but in quali your hands are tied so it was a frustrating day. For tomorrow come race time I’ll be confident but I think we’re going to be a little slow on the straights compared to the guys in front but if it rains then we might be the lucky dogs. I think the wet will make it interesting. In the dry on raw pace we are not quick enough to challenge Mercedes, but in the wet I think it will be exciting for the fans.

Scuderia Toro Rosso

PIERRE GASLY – Position: 14th
“I think Q3 was a bit of a longshot today, I really hoped we would be able to make it but unfortunately we just didn’t have the pace. I was really close with Sergio, so maybe one more position was possible, but we lacked performance in qualifying. Of course it’s a bit disappointing not to get a better result in my home race, but I think we did the best we could. We seemed to have some trouble with the second sector on the long straights, so we need to have a look at the data and see where we’re losing time, because in general the car feels OK. I think yesterday it felt a bit better than today, but it’s so tight in the midfield and we lacked a couple of tenths. It’s been really amazing to drive in front of my home crowd, they give me a lot of support! We have one more battle tomorrow – the most important one – and hopefully there will be a lot of fans there to give me a boost. I’ll fight a lot and try everything to get back in the points, the last time was in Monaco and it would be amazing to score points in France!”

BRENDON HARTLEY – Position: 17th
“We’re starting tomorrow’s race from the back of the grid because of the engine penalty we received, but we’re pretty positive because the car’s felt decent all weekend – especially on the long run simulation yesterday. Qualifying started pretty well for me, I think I was in the top 10 after the first run, then on the second one I ran into a bit of traffic. It also started to rain a bit towards the end of the lap, so it didn’t feel like we got everything together. If the weather is as unpredictable as today, there might be some opportunities tomorrow.”


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