Verstappen on “terrible” car in qualifying: “I was never in a good window”

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The two times World Champion will start the Hungarian GP from the front row I P2, after scoring five pole position in a row in the last five races.

Lewis Hamilton snatched the top spot on the grid by only 0.003s, for a very tight first qualifying session testing the new format with different tyres in every segment.

It hasn’t been as easy of a race weekend as the Red Bull driver had accustomed his fans to, ending yesterday’s FP2 in P11, with Verstappen admitting in his post race interview that he is not completely at ease with his car:

“I have been struggling the whole weekend to find a good balance, every session has been up and down. Today also in qualifying it was really difficult in Q1 and Q2 to just feel confident, to really attack corners.

“I thought my first run in Q3 was quite good. But then the second run again, no feeling,” recalled Verstappen, leading after his early attempt.

Photo credits: Oracle Red Bull Racing

The championship leader isn’t satisfied with his set-up, which might be the source of his issues with the RB19 at the Hungaroring so far:

“I tried to push a little bit more, but you lose the rear, or lose the front. We are still second, but I think we should be ahead with the car we have normally. But so far I think we haven’t been on it.”

Asked if the daring new upgrade introduced for the weekend by Red Bull might be instead causing him the lack of stability he has been dealing with so far, Verstappen denied:

“I think the update works, but I think we just didn’t really put everything together set-up wise, I think today we have been all over the shop and not exactly where we want it to be.”

Ultimately, Verstappen isn’t too fazed by the missed pole position, as he believes that in the race he will still have the upper hand on the Mercedes driver:

“It’s going to be quite hot and normally rear tyres are going to be difficult, but I think for the race everything settles down a bit more. I would have just hoped to have a little bit more of a fun balance in qualifying to really attack it,” he concluded.

The Dutch driver went on to discuss his performance and the feeling with his car in the post-qualifying press conference, as he mention that it had felt “terrible”:

“Terrible. It doesn’t matter where you are on the grid, if it doesn’t feel good it doesn’t feel good. The whole qualifying I have been struggling a lot, the whole weekend really.”

Verstappen went on to mention the issues which affected his qualifying runs: “A bit of a shifting balance, I understeer, then I correct it and it’s oversteer. I was just never in a good window. I was struggling a lot in Q1, Q2… “l

“I mean, there’s not much you can do really once you go into Qualifying. Every time I got to the apex at the corner, it was just not gripping up for me, and that’s probably the worse balance I can have in the car.”

In spite of the lack of feeling he had with his car, the Red Bull driver looking to bring his team to what would be a record breaking twelveth win in a row added that his first pole attempt in the Q3 was almost positive:

“I tried to correct a few things in Q3, but there is only so much you can do, I thought the first lap wasn’t too bad but it still felt like I was driving on ice with the front left, just very tricky.

“Then in the second lap, already the first sector was just again off, then I just pushed a bit more in Sector 2, which paid off, but then in the last sector I again lost the front.

“Just really inconsistent and difficult to be progressive in qualifying, it was just hit and miss all the time. We are P2 but looking at how the year has been this I didn’t expect it to happen,” he concluded unsatisfied.