Max second fastest in wet qualifying in Istanbul: 'Disappointed'

Published on 14 November 2020 by Mike Motilall

Max Verstappen qualified second fastest for the Turkish Grand Prix. In an unnerving qualifying session on the very slippery and wet Istanbul Park circuit, Max set the benchmark in Q1 and Q2 on the full wet-tyres. In Q3 the track was dry enough for intermediates. On these tyres Lance Stroll took off in his Racing Point. The Canadian driver took his first ever career Formula 1-pole, while Max trailed a mere two tenths in second. Sergio Perez rounded out the celebrations for Racing Point by coming in third fastest.

After qualifying Max had the following to say: “Just at this moment I am a bit disappointed. We should have been on pole today. When you’re first all the time and you come out second it’s not what you want.”

Max explains why he missed out on pole: “In Q1 when we tried to go out on the inters we had no grip compared to the others. The track conditions were a lot better in Q3, but I was not sure if to go out on the intermediates. So we first went out on the full wets. The track got drier, so when we eventually changed to the intermediates, they were horrible for us. I just didn’t have any grip at the front whereas on the extremes I felt very good, they were very comfortable. Something was clearly not working for us today on the intermediates.”

Despite everything Max is hopeful for the race tomorrow: “In the race tomorrow we can do well. Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas are a bit further away, so we’ll see. Points are tomorrow so I hope we’ll have a good race.”

After a rained out third free practice, it was still raining when qualifying got underway. Max is the first driver to head out on track after the lights turn green. On the intermediate tyres Max spins in his outlap on the very slippery track, but he is able to continue on without any issues. Esteban Ocon and Valtteri Bottas are, as oppose to Max, on the full wet-tyres and clock the quickest time in their first flying laps. Max comes in only fifteenth fastest on his inters and immediately heads back in to get the full wets strapped on to his car. It has started to rain even harder causing numerous drivers to spin out. This forces Race Control to bring out the red flag and halt the qualifying session.

After a delay of almost forty five minutes, the track has gotten dry enough to resume the session. On the full wets all the drivers head out on track with a little less than seven minutes to go in Q1. The track is still very slippery resulting in the drivers having to do their utmost to keep their cars on track. Romain Grosjean fails to do such. The Frenchman spins out in his Haas at Turn one and gets stuck in the gravel trap. The red flag is waved once more while Max is left stranded in P15.

This time round the delay is brief. When the track has been cleared again, Max is the first one out on track on a set of the full wets strapped on to his RB16. With a clear view ahead of him, Max does a 1:57.485, which puts him well above the rest in Q1. Aston Martin Red Bull Racing-team mate Alexander Albon comes in second with an almost two second deficit. Drop outs in the first part of qualifying are: Kevin Magnussen (P16), Daniil Kvyat (P17), George Russell (P18), Romain Grosjean (P19) and Nicholas Latifi (P20).

In Q2 only the McLaren-drivers are brave enough to venture out on track on the intermediate tyres. Verstappen, running on the full wets, clocks a 1:57.125, his quickest time at that moment in his first flying lap. The track keeps getting drier so the drivers keep lapping the circuit. Max betters his time lap after lap and secures his grip on the top spot. With a 1:50.293 he tops Q2 as well, once again almost two seconds faster that team mate Albon in P2. The second group of drivers that didn’t make it to the final part of qualifying consists of: Lando Norris (P11), Sebastian Vettel (P12), Carlos Sainz (P13), Charles Leclerc (P14) and Pierre Gasly (P15).

McLaren’s gamble, to head out on track on the intermediates in Q2, didn’t pay off. At the start of Q3 it is Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez who are the only ones on the intermediates. Max does a 1:52.326 on the full wets in his first lap in Q3. He briefly takes pole till Perez betters the time he set. Just like many other drivers, Max decides to head back in for the inters.

Despite that Max is able to shave off a bit of his time to a 1:48.055, it is Lance Stroll in his Racing Point who is slightly quicker than the Dutchman. With this, Lance takes his first ever Formula 1-pole. Max comes in second while Sergio Perez claims P3. Alexander Albon is fourth fastest with behind him Daniel Ricciardo. Lewis Hamilton is sixth while Esteban Ocon, Kimi Raikkonen, Valtteri Bottas and Antonio Giovinazzi round out the top ten.

Sunday at 11.10 Dutch time the Turkish Grand Prix will get underway.

Contest GP Turkey: Win a Red Bull Racing 2020 shoulder bag!

Results qualifying Turkey:

1Lance StrollSTRRacing Point BWT Mercedes2:07.4671:53.3721:47.765
2Max VerstappenVERRed Bull Racing Honda1:57.4851:50.2931:48.055
3Sergio PerezPERRacing Point BWT Mercedes2:07.6141:54.0971:49.321
4Alexander AlbonALBRed Bull Racing Honda1:59.4311:52.2821:50.448
5Daniel RicciardoRICRenault2:05.5981:54.2781:51.595
6Lewis HamiltonHAMMercedes2:07.5991:52.7091:52.560
7Esteban OconOCORenault2:06.1151:53.6571:52.622
8Kimi RäikkönenRAIAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari2:01.2491:53.7931:52.745
9Valtteri BottasBOTMercedes2:07.0011:53.7671:53.258
10Antonio GiovinazziGIOAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari2:07.3411:53.4311:57.226
11Lando NorrisNORMcLaren Renault2:07.1671:54.945
12Sebastian VettelVETFerrari2:03.3561:55.169
13Carlos SainzSAIMcLaren Renault2:07.4891:55.410
14Charles LeclercLECFerrari2:04.4641:56.696
15Pierre GaslyGASAlphaTauri Honda2:05.5791:58.556
16Kevin MagnussenMAGHaas Ferrari2:08.007
17Daniil KvyatKVYAlphaTauri Honda2:09.070
18George RussellRUSWilliams Mercedes2:10.017
19Romain GrosjeanGROHaas Ferrari2:12.909
20Nicholas LatifiLATWilliams Mercedes2:21.611