January 6, 2023

Verstappen hampered by ‘weird feeling’ with F1 car in qualifying

After topping practice by seven tenths of a second on Friday afternoon at Silverstone, the Red Bull driver topped Q1 by just 0.035s from Lewis Hamilton before being reeled in by his F1 world title rival over the final two segments of qualifying.

Hamilton went on to claim top spot for F1’s first sprint qualifying race ahead of Verstappen by 0.075s.

Having come into the British GP off the back of three consecutive wins and pole positions, the Dutch driver conceded he was unable to “really attack any corners” during qualifying but wasn’t what was the cause as he had to settle for second place.

“We just need to look at ourselves because I think the car itself is actually handling quite well. But I had a lot of understeer so I couldn’t really attack any corners,” Verstappen said.

“I was just waiting for the front to grip up and a bit of a weird feeling, to be honest, to drive, because I don’t think it was set-up or front wing related. It is what it is. We were still quite close so it’s alright.”

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Verstappen has stayed optimistic over his race pace despite losing out to Hamilton in the traditional qualifying format and feels if Red Bull can resolve the problem he will be able to fight back on in the inaugural sprint qualifying race – a sprint event that will cover 17 laps of Silverstone to decide the final grid for this year’s British GP.

“It’s a bit of a weird feeling, to be honest,” he said. “You do qualifying, you go flat out and actually it doesn’t really mean anything in terms of pole position feeling, so we’ll see tomorrow.

“I think we have a strong race car. We just need to fix a bit the issues we had in qualifying, but I’m quite confident that you know that we can have a strong race.”

Verstappen will be able to trial tweaks to his Red Bull car in the 60-minute final practice on Saturday, which takes place before the sprint qualifying race later in the afternoon.

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