Max fifth in Suzuka qualifying: 'Not happy'
Published on 13 October 2019 by Stefan Meens
Max Verstappen qualified in fifth position ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix. Sebastian Vettel clinched pole position ahead of Ferrari team mate Charles Leclerc. Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas completed the top three.
“We changed too many things, which is why Q3 wasn’t good”, explains Max. “I asked for a slipstream because I’m using the most wing. I’m not happy with this qualifying.”
The tricky conditions, caused by heavy winds, made qualifying more challenging than normal. “It affected me in the second sector and on the main straight the car pulled to the left. But it’s not an excuse. It’s the same for everyone.”
Despite being disappointed with P5, the Aston Martin Red Bull Racing driver is confident ahead of the race. “I am, but we could’ve done a lot better.”
Early on in Q1, before anyone has completed a timed lap, a red flag is thrown; Robert Kubica has crashed heavily after dipping a wheel on the grass in the run up to start/finish. The Polish driver is unharmed but his Williams team will have got their work cut out to repair the car in time for the race.
Once the track is cleared, the session resumes, but not for long. On the exit of the final corner, Kevin Magnussen has an almost identical incident, resulting in a Haas sliding into the barriers. Despite a lot of damage, the Dane is able to drive his car back to the pits.
After clearing the circuit for a second time, the session gets properly underway. Max’ only effort (1:28.7) comfortably qualifies him for Q2. Meanwhile, Daniel Ricciardo (Renault), Sergio Perez (Racing Point) and George Russell (Williams) join Kubica and Magnussen on the list of drivers stranding in Q1.
In the second part of qualifying, Max only clocks one lap time, 1:28.4, which is enough to send him through to Q3. The Alfas of Antonio Giovinazzi and Kimi Raikkone, Lance Stroll (Racing Point(, Danill Kvyat (Scuderia Toro Rosso) and Nico Hulkenberg (Renault) all fail to progress.
Ferrai is quick of the mark in the third and final part of qualifying. After the first timed laps, it is Vettel ahead of Leclerc, Bottas, Hamilton, Max and Albon. Although most drivers improve on their laps in their second run, the order does not change, meaning Vettel will start the race on pole position.
Alex Albon set the exact sane time as his team mate but as Max set it first, the Dutchman will start fifth, Albon sixth.
|5||Max Verstappen||VER||Red Bull Racing Honda||1:28.754||1:28.499||1:27.851|
|6||Alexander Albon||ALB||Red Bull Racing Honda||1:29.351||1:28.156||1:27.851|
|7||Carlos Sainz||SAI||McLaren Renault||1:29.018||1:28.577||1:28.304|
|8||Lando Norris||NOR||McLaren Renault||1:28.873||1:28.571||1:28.464|
|9||Pierre Gasly||GAS||Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda||1:29.411||1:28.779||1:28.836|
|10||Romain Grosjean||GRO||Haas Ferrari||1:29.572||1:29.144||1:29.341|
|11||Antonio Giovinazzi||GIO||Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari||1:29.604||1:29.254|
|12||Lance Stroll||STR||Racing Point BWT Mercedes||1:29.594||1:29.345|
|13||Kimi Räikkönen||RAI||Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari||1:29.636||1:29.358|
|14||Daniil Kvyat||KVY||Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda||1:29.723||1:29.563|
|17||Sergio Perez||PER||Racing Point BWT Mercedes||1:30.344|
|18||George Russell||RUS||Williams Mercedes||1:30.364|
|0||Kevin Magnussen||MAG||Haas Ferrari||DNF|
|0||Robert Kubica||KUB||Williams Mercedes||DNS|