F1 2021
Round 21

An Agonising End To Qualifying Sees Verstappen Take P3 In Jeddah

sa Jeddah

A sensational final effort for pole position from Max fell agonisingly short but we will start Sunday’s first race in Jeddah with all four cars in the top eight after a strong performance from both Honda-powered teams.

An Agonising End To Qualifying Sees Verstappen Take P3 In Jeddah

After impressing throughout practice, both Red Bull Racing and Scuderia AlphaTauri hit the ground running in Q1, with Sergio leading the way and all four drivers making it safely through in the top ten.

That form continued in Q2, where the medium tyre was the preferred compound and Sergio again led the way in second place, ahead of Max in third. Yuki also excelled in fifth position to ensure an eighth Q3 appearance of his career, and Pierre was just one position behind his team-mate, with all four on the mediums for the race start tomorrow.

In the final part of qualifying, a special lap from Max was unfolding as he looked to move up from third on the grid ahead of the Mercedes pair, and he put in two brilliant sectors to be over 0.2s up with just the final corner to go. Unfortunately Max went in too deep and hit the wall on the exit, so was unable to complete his lap and will start from third place.

Sergio’s final run was a little more tricky than the rest of the session as he ended up fifth, with Pierre joining him on the third row in sixth after another excellent qualifying lap. Yuki was impacted by traffic but still starts from eighth, giving all four a good chance of scoring points on Sunday.

Toyoharu Tanabe
Toyoharu Tanabe
Honda Racing F1
On the second day of running at this new track, all four Honda cars performed well in FP3 and then in qualifying, where they all got into Q3. Max was on an exceptional lap on his second Q3 run, which looked set to assure him of pole position until a small mistake put his car in the wall. It was a real shame, but third is still a good starting position. He has shown great speed all weekend so we can expect a strong race from him tomorrow. In the other Red Bull Racing Honda, Checo has also gone well this weekend, although he didn’t quite get his best lap on his final run, so will start from fifth. Both Scuderia Alpha Tauri drivers have also been consistently quick so far and Pierre did very well to secure sixth place. Eighth for Yuki is very good, but actually it’s a bit disappointing as, without traffic on his final run, he might have been able to start a bit higher up the grid. So overall, it was not quite the grid we expected for our cars, but their pace suggests they can all race hard tomorrow. Tomorrow will be the first ever Grand Prix here and we have seen all weekend what a difficult challenge this track can present. Therefore we will be simulating every possible scenario to be ready for whatever opportunity presents itself over the 50 laps.

Max Verstappen
Max Verstappen 33
Red Bull Racing
I was on a really good lap until I lost it on the final corner, I thought I had approached it in the same way I had been doing all session, but I lost the rear. I’m upset with myself and it is of course disappointing but there are two races to go and anything can happen. We had a good car in qualifying and everything was coming together which gives me hope going into the race tomorrow, also knowing that the pace was there today. I hope we can follow well tomorrow and if that’s the case, there should be some good opportunities and we should have a good shot.

Sergio Perez
Sergio Perez 11
Red Bull Racing
We were P1 in Q1 and Q2 and then in Q3 I don’t think the approach we took with the tyres was the right one. I suddenly picked up a lot of understeer and couldn’t match my Q2 time, which is a bit of a shame. These tyres are so picky that if you are not in the right temperature window then your balance is totally different and that is what happened to me today. It is a physically demanding track, it puts a lot of stress on your body and mentally it is challenging too to be up there session after session. Today wasn’t an ideal day for us as a Team but tomorrow there is still a lot to play for, it is going to be a long race and anything can happen still. I am looking forward to it, the pace was there today and I really hope we can improve on our starting position and get into the podium positions very early on. We will see if starting on the clean side of the grid tomorrow is an advantage, I think the start is a good chance to overtake, then we will go from there and try to be in the mix with the leaders straight away.

Pierre Gasly
Pierre Gasly 10
Scuderia AlphaTauri
It’s been fantastic again today with another top six Qualifying position. This time it was a bit more difficult, I didn’t feel quite as confident in the car and I struggled with the balance throughout the session. I had to really work as we made our way through Quali, but I managed to put it altogether and I’m really pleased with my lap. I was only two-thousandths behind Sergio, which is nothing, so that’s a bit frustrating but at the end of the day it’s still a great starting position for tomorrow to score points.

Yuki Tsunoda
Yuki Tsunoda 22
Scuderia AlphaTauri
I’ve got some mixed feelings about today. I think my performance in Q1 and Q2 was great and I’m really pleased with that, but unfortunately on my final lap in Q3 I had traffic and I lost a lot of time. I think I could’ve been starting further up the grid tomorrow, so it’s frustrating right now. There are lots of positives to take away today though, particularly the fact that I made it through Q2 on the Mediums, so I’ll be starting on the same tyre as everyone else around me tomorrow. It’s a really great track to drive, so I’m looking forward to the race and hopefully we can come away with points.

Published on