Verstappen found his Miami F1 qualifying experience “frustrating” despite securing pole position

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Max Verstappen secured his first Miami Grand Prix pole after fending off a challenge from Charles Leclerc during Saturday’s qualifying session. 

Despite besting the Ferrari duo, Verstappen admitted his Miami effort wasn’t the most enjoyable lap of his career. 

“Yeah, I think we definitely improved the car a bit, but I don’t know what it is,” he said. “Every single year that we come here I find it extremely difficult to be very consistent with the car feeling, the tyre feeling of one lap.

“It’s just so hard to make sure that…let’s say sector 1 feels good and sector 3 at the end of the lap. To make that happen together is incredibly tough. And again today it was really about finding that balance.

“I think we did okay. It’s not the most enjoyable lap out of my career just because of how slippery it is. You’re not very confident on the lap. But we are on pole and that’s of course the most important.”

Verstappen expressed some concerns about his car on Friday, especially during Sprint Qualifying. Earlier on Saturday, Verstappen started—and, crucially, finished—first in the Sprint but still didn’t seem entirely happy with his RB20, complaining about the lack of rear grip, echoing his sentiments from the previous day.

However, he felt that Red Bull made progress in that regard for qualifying: “It definitely feels a little bit more under control, which I was looking for. So hopefully that will help us out tomorrow, but we’ll find out.”

In the Sprint, Verstappen briefly came under threat from second-placed Leclerc, who gave the Red Bull driver some trouble until the safety car effectively de-fanged him. 

“Yeah, I think we know what we did wrong, what I did wrong as well,” Verstappen said. “So I’m sure that if I do my things correctly and we’re just very good with what we have been doing in the last few starts, then normally it should be alright.

“For some reason it’s just extremely difficult to make the tyres work around the whole lap,” he added in the post-qualifying press conference.

“Sometimes you have little moments here and there and it’s just not very consistent and that makes it very difficult to try and hit a perfect lap. 

“So every lap that you put on the board was a bit of guessing what was going to happen, which doesn’t make it very… let’s say nice to drive. But we, I think, handled the situation well, we did the best we could and the car definitely felt a little bit nicer compared to yesterday.”

Verstappen explained, “It’s just super unpredictable, it’s quite frustrating, it’s not really fun to drive like that.

“But yeah, I can’t tell you what went wrong because I did the same thing and then you come out of corners and you suddenly lose one-tenth or whatever.

“I’m like ‘alright, just a bit less grip.’ It’s just yeah, you know some qualifiers you go in you know, ‘okay I can improve here, there’, you know the tyres are quite consistent and you know you can just push here, it just feels like you have no idea really like what you’re gonna get and that makes it really difficult.”

Asked about the game plan for tomorrow and the threat the Ferraris potentially pose, Verstappen replied, “[The car] definitely felt a bit more connected, let’s say, a bit more predictable, which hopefully will help me tomorrow in the race.

“Honestly the only thing that we can control is within ourselves, so that’s what we’ll focus on. 

“As long I’m happy with my balance in the race I think we’ll be all right. It just needs to be a bit better than what we had today in the [Sprint] race. I think if we can achieve something like that you know that we’re in a bit of a happier window then I’m sure we’ll be quick.”