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Verstappen: "Happier with pole than sprint race win" at F1 Chinese GP

Max Verstappen conceded he was happier to qualify on pole for Formula 1's Chinese Grand Prix than with winning Saturday morning's sprint race.

Pole man Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, receives his Pirelli Pole Position Award

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

Verstappen romped home to a 13-second win over Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton in Shanghai's 19-lap sprint, before going on to claim a dominant pole for Sunday's proper grand prix as well.

A long-time opponent of the sprint format, Verstappen said he was more pleased with his pole position than with his sprint win, although he did concede its rejigged format with two separate parc ferme periods is a big improvement.

"It's a more logical and nicer format," Verstappen said. "I was still happier with pole than with the sprint race, of course.

Elaborating on his opinion to Sky Sports F1, Verstappen added: "I did think it's nicer than what we had, just that you also able to make some changes to the car after the sprint.

"The only thing which was a little bit weird was that you did a race and then you go back into qualifying [mode].

"Maybe we should do qualifying and then the race. I don't know but these are just things to fine-tune maybe. But overall, definitely better than what we used to have."

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB20

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB20

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Verstappen said he and his race engineer opted to change the Red Bull RB20's set-up ahead of qualifying and Sunday's race despite his dominant sprint win.

"After the sprint race, it gave us a few more ideas for the car and I think the car worked even better in qualifying now," he explained.

"It definitely gives you more of an idea with the degradation, what to look at, what to work on.

"The wind direction is going to change again tomorrow, so the balance of the car in some corners will be a bit different again. But I think if the car is only even half as good as what it was in the sprint, I think we'll be alright."

Verstappen established yet another landmark for Red Bull by clinching the team's 100th pole position in F1, with the Dutchman responsible for 37 of those.

"Before I jumped in the car, Christian [Horner] told me if I get pole today, it would be number 100 for the team," he said.

"That's an incredible achievement for the whole team. Of course, also a big contribution from Seb [Vettel] back in the day. But yeah, fantastic."

Additional reporting by Erwin Jaeggi

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