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Verstappen was pessimistic about Austrian GP qualifying pre-weekend

Max Verstappen says the performance of Red Bull's Formula 1 package in Austrian Grand Prix qualifying was surprising as he was not looking forward to the session before the weekend

The Red Bull Ring circuit's long straights are not best suited to the Red Bull-Honda package because of the car's aero philosophy and Honda's remaining power deficit to Mercedes and Ferrari.

But Verstappen rebounded from a crash in Friday's second practice session to set the third-fastest time in qualifying behind Ferrari's Charles Leclerc and the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton, who is under investigation for an incident in Q1.

Reflecting on his strong performance, Verstappen said: "I think just in general our whole weekend, the performance has been a lot better [than expected].

"Before we came here, I was not really looking forward to the qualifying because I knew it was going to be hard.

"But actually with the new updates that we brought to the car, we gained a bit of performance.

"I was really happy with the car throughout the qualifying and in the corners again we looked really competitive.

"We do know that we are lacking quite a bit of pace to Ferrari and even to Mercedes on the straights, but knowing that this is not a good track for us, this is still a great result in qualifying."

Red Bull's biggest update in Austria revolved around a new front wing, which Verstappen said has improved the car's cornering performance noticeably.

"The things we brought they just gave me more grip," he explained.

"I didn't really have big problems before with oversteer or a lot of understeer, but just not enough overall grip.

"I think that seems to be improve again and that is really positive."

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