Verstappen settles for front row: 'Mercedes hard to beat here'

After a stunning performance in the second round of qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix on Saturday, Max... The post Verstappen settles for front row: 'Mercedes hard to beat here' appeared first on F1i.com.

Verstappen settles for front row: 'Mercedes hard to beat here'

After a stunning performance in the second round of qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix on Saturday, Max Verstappen was a quarter of a second ahead of the rest of the field and hot favourite for pole position.

But the Red Bull driver couldn't match Lewis Hamilton's ensuing pace in Q3 and ended up having to settle for second place. That puts him on the front row alongside Hamilton and ahead of Valtteri Bottas for the start of tomorrow's race.

Far from being disappointed at missing out on pole, Verstappen felt that it was a job well done today.

"We know that they're hard to beat around here but to be that close I can be happy with that," he told the media in parc ferme afterwards.

"It was good," he insisted. "Struggled a little in Q1 but I think then we sorted out the balance for Q2 which was pretty good. And then Q3, for me to be honest, both laps were pretty decent."

Both Hamilton and Verstappen set their best Q3 times first time out, with the wind changing before their final runs which meant few drivers were able to go quicker.

"The second run was a little bit worse for whatever reason," Verstappen concurred. "It's quite gusty right here so the wind changes a lot. But nevertheless I think second for us on this track was very good today."

"We only lost in one corner, and that was turn 4," Red Bull motorsports consultant Dr Helmut Marko told Sky Sports F1. "We lost two tenths in that sector."

Even so, it puts Verstappen in the ideal position for the start of the race tomorrow, which the long 600m drag down to turn 1 an ideal place for him to challenge for the leader as soon as the race lights go out.

"Yes, it's a long run into turn 1," Verstappen agreed. "But of course first you have to make sure to have a good start!"

For once, Verstappen and Red Bull opted to start on the soft compound tyres rather than the mediums. Mercedes made the same call, meaning that the top ten on the grid will all on an even footing.

"I could have easily qualified on it," Verstappen said of the medium tyre, but explaining that he saw no point on trying as it won't be an advantage.

"With all the fast corners and tyres overheating, tyre management is very important so we have to make sure that we are on top of that.

Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing in the post qualifying FIA Press Conference. 08.05.2021. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 4, Spanish Grand Prix, Barcelona

"It seems the pace is there, so of course I hope that we can have a good race as well," he added. "It is of course difficult to predict at the moment.

"I’m always optimistic and positive that we can do a good job and have a good race, and I hope that it’s going to be as close as today.

"We were quite decent in the long runs [in practice] but they also of course looked strong. So we know it’s hard to overtake around here and also to be following closely, so we’ll have to wait and see tomorrow."

Unlike last week in Portugal, Verstappen won't be able to rely on help form his team mate Sergio Perez who struggled to match the leaders' pace in qualifying after suffering from shoulder pain.

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Monaco EPrix: Da Costa snatches thrilling win on final lap

Antonio Felix da Costa was determined not to let a hard-fought pole position go to waste in Saturday's... The post Monaco EPrix: Da Costa snatches thrilling win on final lap appeared first on F1i.com.

Monaco EPrix: Da Costa snatches thrilling win on final lap

Antonio Felix da Costa was determined not to let a hard-fought pole position go to waste in Saturday's Monaco EPrix, the DS Techeetah winning the round with a dramatic last lap move on race leader Mitch Evans.

Da Costa led the early laps of the race but was overhauled by fellow front-row man Frijns. The Brazilian's passage over the Attack Mode gate delivered extra watts but failed to allow him to recoup his position at the front of the field.

Instead, da Costa fell into the clutches of his teammate Jean-Eric Vergne and Jaguar's Mitch Evans. Up ahead, Frijns succeeded in building a small 1.4s cushion, but the Dutchman relinquished his edge and fell behind Maximilian Gunther when he again activated his Attack Mode.

But Frijns pressed on, overtaking the German and then passing da Costa on the run to the Nouvelle Chicane.

However, da Costa's second run through the energy gate allowed the Brazilian to reel in and pass Frijns once again, while Evans used his own Attack Mode bonus to slot into second with a move on the Virgin Racing driver at Ste Devote.

Evans – unhindered by a short safety car period - upheld his momentum and passed da Costa with a brave move on the outside of Beau Rivage.

But the Kiwi's energy levels were quickly falling, with da Costa delivering the coup de grace along the Mediterranean seafront on the final lap on the run down t the chicane.

As da Costa collected the win, it only got worse for Evans who was pipped for second by Frijns, with Vergne and Gunther rounding off the top-five.

A double retirement for Nyck de Vries and Stoffel Vandoorne in the Mercedes camp propelled Frijns to the top of the Drivers' standings with 62 points, or a 5-point lead over de Vries, with Evans now sitting third with 54 points.

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The post Monaco EPrix: Da Costa snatches thrilling win on final lap appeared first on F1i.com.

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