Qualifying
F1 2021
Round 4

Verstappen Earns A Front Row Start In Spain

es Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya

Red Bull Racing will start with one car on the front row but the other a little further back after a qualifying session decided by fine margins in Barcelona.

Verstappen Earns A Front Row Start In Spain

In a slightly chaotic first part of qualifying that saw a number of traffic issues at the final chicane, Yuki was unfortunate to drop out by just 0.007s as he ended up 16th on the grid after running slightly wide into the gravel on his final attempt. The other three cars all safely advanced in the top six, with Pierre needing just one run to get through in the sister Scuderia AlphaTauri car.


Pierre exits the pits during Q1
Pierre exits the pits during Q1

Q2 started with Max setting a blistering pace and posting the fastest time overall by some distance, allowing him to wait in the garage and watch the rest of the field try to improve. Sergio was able to secure his safe passage but Pierre just missed out by 0.016s and will start from 12th place with a free choice of tyres.

Heading into Q3 it was a thrilling battle for pole position and Max put in an excellent first lap but was just 0.036s off the pace. On the final runs, most drivers struggled to improve and although Max came close to matching his time he couldn’t better it so will line-up second on the grid. Sergio had a trickier time of it in the final part of qualifying as he dipped a wheel into the gravel before turning in at Turn 13, causing him to spin and meaning he didn’t set a time. Needing to get a time on the board with his final lap in an extremely close session, Sergio ended up eighth on the grid as the track seemed slightly slower, although he was less than 0.2s away from the second row.



Toyoharu Tanabe
Toyoharu Tanabe
Honda Racing F1
As expected, the qualifying fight through the whole field was very close.  With Max second on the grid for Red Bull Racing Honda and with the qualifying gap only 0.036 seconds off pole, we can be optimistic about tomorrow with the definite possibility of being able to aim for the win. Sergio was a bit further back than usual, in eighth, but we know he races very well on Sunday, so we can expect him to move up some places. Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda also faced a very close battle in the mid-field and for the first time this year, Pierre missed the cut into Q3, but we still expect him to get into the points, helped by a free choice of tyre for the start. As for  Yuki he seemed to be struggling with the car balance, also making a mistake on his final quick lap and we hope he too can push hard and move up the order. In such close competition small gaps make a huge difference to the result, therefore it will be very important to get all the potential out of the car without making any mistakes.

Max Verstappen
Max Verstappen 33
Red Bull Racing Honda
From my side it was a good qualifying. I’m pleased with my lap with no mistakes and I feel like I extracted the most out of the car. It was very close, but it wasn’t quite enough and sometimes you have to accept that. Mercedes seem to be a little bit ahead of us over one lap but to be on the front row here, especially compared to last year where we really struggled, we can be very happy with that. We know that the start is very important here and it can impact the race result, so of course we are focused on it, but we want to keep it clean as well as it’s a long race. We will of course give it our best tomorrow and I think we have decent race pace, if it’s enough to beat them I don’t know but we will push them all the way.

Sergio Perez
Sergio Perez 11
Red Bull Racing Honda
It was a tough qualifying out there and just a bad day in general. I didn’t get a good lap throughout today and I was not feeling 100% in qualifying with some shoulder pain so we did well to progress to Q3 which shows what a good car we have. In terms of pace, we have a very good race car so it’s a shame we are starting out of position as it’s a difficult place to overtake but I’m confident we will be able to fight for a very strong result. Tomorrow is a new opportunity, hopefully we are able to minimize the damage and take some steps forward. I’ll be aggressive as I need to come through the field and catch up to the leaders as early as possible. In general, it’s not been the best weekend from my side but looking at previous races this year, you can see things are coming together and I’m just getting to know the car better which is the key.

Pierre Gasly
Pierre Gasly 10
Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda
I’m obviously disappointed with the final result, that’s the first time we’ve not made it through to Q3 this year and we missed it by just two hundredths, which is nothing. That being said, I’m happy with the car balance this weekend but we’ve really struggled with grip, we just seem to slide around, then overheat the tyres and on this track you really pay the price for that. I think we were slightly more competitive at the start of the year, so we need to go away and understand how we can regain that lead again in the midfield battle. Nevertheless, tomorrow is where we score points and we’ll be starting in P12 with a free tyre choice, which will hopefully give us a slight advantage in the race.

Yuki Tsunoda
Yuki Tsunoda 22
Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda
It’s frustrating for me, the performance in the car is definitely there and I think we should easily be making it through to Q2, but I just couldn’t find the grip today. Pierre and I have very different feedback about the car, even when we have the same set-up, so I need to understand whether this is due to the characteristics of it or our different driving styles and then I can look closer at the data with my engineers. I think if I find this reason then I can really start to harness the full potential of the car.


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