Many thought Max Verstappen would be the fly in the Mercedes ointment in qualifying for the season finale in Abu Dhabi on Saturday evening, however, an error on his final lap meant that the flying Dutch rookie could only manage sixth place on the finale grid of the year.
Like his Red Bull Racing teammate, Daniel Ricciardo, Max is starting tonight’s race on the supersoft rubber rather than the ultra like the Ferrari’s and Mercedes drivers in front of him, meaning that making up places in the opening stint of the race seems unlikely.
However, if he can get one of his usual lightning starts, there is every possibility he can be several places up going in to the first corner and challenging the top guys for a podium finish.
“I’m pretty disappointed with sixth,” he admitted. “Qualifying up until Q3 went very well, we had no issues and didn’t touch the car. In my last run I was pushing hard and a few tenths up but I locked up into turn 11, if not for that I feel I would have been around P3.”
“It was a bit unfortunate as my pace was there and the car felt good. It would have been great to be a bit higher on the grid as the tyre strategy means that by starting on the supersoft we need a really strong start and to be careful with the cars behind.”
“We should be able to stay out a bit longer, the tyre seems to work well in the higher temperatures so this suits the start of the race. The pace has been there all weekend so I am definitely aiming to go forward and work my way to the guys up front. I will put today behind me and focus on having a strong race and closing the season with another successful result.”