Verstappen takes the blame after quali and sets the sight on a comeback: “minimum P2” to catch Perez

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Photo credit: Red Bull Racing

Not the best ending to a Saturday – that had started out with a brilliant FP3 in which he seemed to have no rivals – for Max Verstappen who will be starting the Miami GP from P9.

“That was definitely a mistake of mine trying to put it on the limit and then I made a mistake and had to abort the lap,” he explained to media at the end of the session.

“Then you rely on a bit of luck that there is not going to be a red flag, but it can happen on the street circuit. So, I’m just a bit upset with myself.”

He ran wide during his first Q3 stint – a little, but rather costly mistake – and decided to abort the lap and have a second run.

One that never saw the light of the Miami sun, as the session was halted with a bit more than 90 seconds remaining by a red flag.

A red flag that secured the pole for his teammate Sergio Perez, who completes an all-Spanish speaking top three on the starting grid for tomorrow that will see Fernando Alonso and Carlos Sainz line up in 2nd and 3rd.

“We didn’t do a lap, and that was my fault,” remarked Verstappen. “It was extremely tricky. I was a little bit offline out of Turn 6 into Turn 7. I felt a bit of understeer but I just couldn’t get it back on the line. So I aborted my lap.

“Of course, you need a bit of luck, hoping that there won’t be a red flag, but when you try to think like that, then of course it happens.”

And it happened on that very same Turn 7, as it’s there that Charles Leclerc lost his Ferrari and spun into the barrier causing the red flag that cut qualifying short.

“It’s a bit upsetting. I mean, all weekend we have been really quick – my Q2 lap was fast enough even for pole,” he continued.

“I guess that already says that we have a very quick car, but you need to put it together and where it matters we didn’t.”

An unfortunate Saturday from which the Dutchman is ready to learn and “do better next time.”

“That’s a bit frustrating, but there is also no point to be super angry or upset about it.”

As for tomorrow’s race Verstappen is now on the lookout for a comeback. Not an easy one despite having an incredibly fast car, as the tarmac here in Miami is quite dusty outside the racing line making it easy to lose the car as we have already seen quite a few drivers do over the weekend so far.

That and also the shortened DRS zones.

“I mean, it’s going to be tough. I’ve made it difficult for myself,” he commented. “It will be a little tough, but I think with the pace of the car we have normally we should have a chance of moving forward quite quickly.”

“It’s going to be a little bit tricky but I think most of your overtakes will be done into the last corner or at least you are very close and maybe even a run into Turn 1.”

The target for the race, however, is set quite high “Minimum P2” with the only opponent being his pole sitter teammate.

“But of course there are a few cars between us,” he reckoned.

Heading into the race with a six-point lead over Perez on the drivers’ championship standings Verstappen is well aware “it can’t all be perfect.

“It’s not a great day but I know that the championship isn’t won tomorrow,” he reflected..

“I’ve been in the position before, you sometimes have a few setbacks but that doesn’t mean that carries on for the rest of the year.”