Max Verstappen second in qualifying Qatar GP: 'Lacking a bit of pace'

Published on 20 November 2021 by Kees-Jan Koster

Max Verstappen qualified in second position for the Qatar Grand Prix. The Dutchman set a 1:22.282 in Q3 on the Losail International Circuit, but was almost half a second slower than Lewis Hamilton, who scored his 102nd pole position of his Formula 1 career. Valtteri Bottas finished third, with Pierre Gasly for AlphaTauri completing the second row on the grid. Max’ teammate Sergio Pérez did not get any further than eleventh.

“We were lacking a bit of pace”, says Verstappen after the qualifying. “When I passed the finish line I thought I had done a good lap, but then I heard what the gap was. It was a bit tricky for us in qualifying, Checo did not even get in Q3. We are struggling a bit more than normal, but nevertheless we are still second. All to play for, but I whish we could have fought for more.”

How important strategy, the start and going into the first corner are going to be is hard to tell according to the Red Bull Racing driver: “It is always difficult to say because we have never done a race here, there are many unknowns. I do not really think too much about these things. We need to work on our start and then we will see where we end up.”

Under the artificial lights gets qualifying underway. The Haas drivers leave the pitlane first and after a couple of minutes more than half the field are already out on the circuit. Not much later comes Max Verstappen also out on track. The Dutchman sets a 1:22.234 on soft tyres, at the time good for second position. Hamilton sets a 1:22.019, the fastest time so far.

Verstappen goes for another fast lap near the end of the session and takes the lead from his title rival by setting a 1:21.996. The gap to both Mercedes drivers is only two hundredths of a second. At the end of the session takes Hamilton another tenth of that time, putting the Dutchman in second. Kimi Räikkönen, Nicholas Latifi, Antonio Giovinazzi, Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin drop out of Q1.

At the start of the second qualifying session are the drivers of Red Bull, Mercedes, Ferrari and McLaren on medium tyres. The other divers go for the red softs. Max sets a 1:21.984 on his first timed lap, putting him in third position after everyone set their first time. The gap to Lewis Hamilton in P1 is than three tenths.

Verstappen comes out again in the final phase of the session. As a precaution the championship leader is on the soft tyre, but he aborts his lap as the margin is big enough to get through to Q3. This is not the case for his teammate Sergio Pérez. The Mexican makes an ultimate attempt on soft tyres, but comes a tenth short to get into the top ten. Also Lance Stroll, Charles Leclerc, Daniel Ricciardo and George Russell drop out.

Max is in second position after the first runs in Q3. With a 1:21.424 is he one and a half tenths behind Lewis Hamilton, who is on provisional pole. Valtteri Bottas is half a tenth behind Verstappen in P3.

Next the drivers come out again for a final run. Max comes last over the finish, but with a 1:21.282 he is almost half a second short to keep Hamilton from pole. Valtteri Bottas finishes third, with behind him Pierre Gasly, whose tyre blew before he could finish his final lap. Fernando Alonso and Lando Norris complete the top six.

Contest GP Qatar: win a by Max Verstappen signed RBR Driver Cap 2021!

Results qualifying Qatar:

posdriverteamq1q2q3
1Lewis HamiltonHAMMercedes1:21.9011:21.6821:20.827
2Max VerstappenVERRed Bull Racing Honda1:21.9961:21.9841:21.282
3Valtteri BottasBOTMercedes1:22.0161:21.9911:21.478
4Pierre GaslyGASAlphaTauri Honda1:22.5351:21.7281:21.640
5Fernando AlonsoALOAlpine Renault1:22.4221:21.8941:21.670
6Lando NorrisNORMcLaren Mercedes1:22.8391:22.2161:21.731
7Carlos SainzSAIFerrari1:22.3041:22.2411:21.840
8Yuki TsunodaTSUAlphaTauri Honda1:22.4581:22.0581:21.881
9Esteban OconOCOAlpine Renault1:22.5651:22.0121:22.028
10Sebastian VettelVETAston Martin Mercedes1:22.5491:22.1461:22.785
11Sergio PerezPERRed Bull Racing Honda1:22.3981:22.346
12Lance StrollSTRAston Martin Mercedes1:22.5511:22.460
13Charles LeclercLECFerrari1:22.7421:22.463
14Daniel RicciardoRICMcLaren Mercedes1:22.6881:22.597
15George RussellRUSWilliams Mercedes1:22.8631:22.756
16Kimi RäikkönenRAIAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari1:23.156
17Nicholas LatifiLATWilliams Mercedes1:23.213
18Antonio GiovinazziGIOAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari1:23.262
19Mick SchumacherMSCHaas Ferrari1:23.407
20Nikita MazepinMAZHaas Ferrari1:25.859