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Verstappen “guessing” every lap in Miami GP qualifying with F1 tyre inconsistencies

Max Verstappen called Miami Grand Prix qualifying “extremely difficult” as he was “guessing” with how the Pirelli Formula 1 tyres would behave on his way to pole position.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing

Photo by: Erik Junius

The reigning world champion notched up his seventh consecutive F1 grand prix pole position, backing up his sprint race pole from Friday in the process, to continue his domination in Miami having converted that pole into a sprint race win earlier today.

But in a similar pattern to sprint race qualifying, the majority of drivers produced inconsistent form, with many of the top 10 shootout failing to find substantial gains on their final runs in Q3.

Verstappen’s 1m27.241s from his first Q3 run was enough for pole after he was unable to improve, while none of his rivals could usurp him, as Charles Leclerc came closest but he missed out by 0.141s.

The majority of drivers found it tough to put together the ideal lap on the soft tyres, with the hot conditions and slippery track surface leaving drivers “guessing”, according to Verstappen.

“It has been extremely difficult to put together a lap where everything just works,” he explained. “For some reason, it is extremely difficult to make the tyres work around the whole lap.

“Sometimes you have moments here and there and it is not very consistent. That makes it very difficult to try to hit the perfect lap.

“Every lap you put on the board is a bit of guessing with what is going to happen so it doesn’t make it very nice to drive.

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images



“I think we handled the situation well, we did the best we could and the car definitely felt a little bit nicer compared to yesterday.”

He added: “I think it is quite warm but it is very slippery around here, the tyres don’t seem to work that well and when you combine those things it makes it really tricky.”

Despite his bemusement, Verstappen was pleased with set-up changes made to his Red Bull since the sprint race, using the new parc ferme break rules between the sprint and grand prix qualifying, which gave him a better feeling in his RB20.

“It definitely felt more connected,” he confirmed. “A bit more predictable which will hopefully help me tomorrow in the race.”

Having started the sprint race with Leclerc on the front row alongside him and team-mate Sergio Perez in third, Verstappen has both Ferrari drivers directly behind him on the grand prix grid, as Carlos Sainz claimed third ahead of Perez in fourth.

But the Dutch driver isn’t concerned about the double Ferrari threat at the start and remains confident of completing a perfect weekend in Miami.

“The only thing we can control is within ourselves and that is what we will focus on,” he said.

“As long as I am happy with my balance in the race I think we will be alright. It just needs to be a bit better than we had today in the [sprint] race. If we can achieve something like that, in a happier window, then I am sure we can be quick.”

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