Max on Monza qualifying: 'Fifth was the maximum result today'
Published on 01 September 2018 by Stefan Meens
Max Verstappen was unable to take the fight to Ferrari and Mercedes during qualifying at Monza. Despite the new Renault spec C power unit fitted in his Aston Martin Red Bull Racing car, the Dutchman had to settle for P5.
Kimi Raikkonen scored his first pole since Monaco 2017, securing a front row lock-out for Ferrari with his team mate Sebastian Vettel in second. Raikkonen’s lap, 1:19.119, is the fasted lap in Formula 1 history. Lewis Hamilton was a tenth off the Finns record breaking effort in third, his Mercedes colleague Valtteri Bottas came fourth.
“We tried to make the most of it and fifth was the maximum result today”, said Max after quali. “We’re pretty far off the front. Although I didn’t have a slip stream in my final run in Q3, I don’t think we would’ve been further up the grid, even if we’d had one. Perhaps we would’ve been a bit closer.”
At Monza, Max tried the spec C Renault power unit for the first time: “It’s definitely a bit better. Probably a tenth and a half. Hopefully it will get us closer to the front, but the gap is big.”
Looking ahead to Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix, Max is realistic: “The Ferraris and Mercedes will be too quick for us. We’ll drive our own race and see if something happens in front of us. Behind me, there is essentially no competition so we’re really in a kind of no-mans land.”
Although there is minor thread of rain in Q1, qualifying remains a dry affair. McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne, Toro Rosso’s Brendan Hartley and Force India’s Sergio Perez join the two Saubers at the back of the grid as the quintet fail to make the cut into next part of qualifying.
In Q2, the three top teams comfortably progress. For the five Q3 spots remaining, the battle is intense between the two Haas, both Williams, the Renaults, Fernando Alonso and Pierre Gasly. In the end, Alonso, Nico Hulkenberg, Sergei Sirotkin and Kevin Magnussen fail to make it through. Daniel Ricciardo, who starts at the back of the grid after an engine penalty, also strands in Q2 after opting not to set a time.
The biggest surprise of the session is Lance Stroll. The Canadian manages to get through to the top ten shoot-out, marking the first time Williams have contested Q3 in 2018.
In the final part of qualifying, Max secures a solid fifth place with no thread from behind and the gap to Bottas (fourth fastest) being too big to pose one. At the very front, it is agonising close; a tenth covers the top three with Kimi claiming pole position for Ferrari ahead of Vettel and Hamilton.
|5||Max Verstappen||VER||Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer||1:21.381||1:20.333||1:20.615|
|6||Romain Grosjean||GRO||Haas Ferrari||1:21.887||1:21.239||1:20.936|
|8||Esteban Ocon||OCO||Force India Mercedes||1:21.570||1:21.315||1:21.099|
|9||Pierre Gasly||GAS||Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda||1:21.834||1:21.667||1:21.350|
|10||Lance Stroll||STR||Williams Mercedes||1:21.838||1:21.494||1:21.627|
|11||Kevin Magnussen||MAG||Haas Ferrari||1:21.783||1:21.669|
|12||Sergey Sirotkin||SIR||Williams Mercedes||1:21.813||1:21.732|
|13||Fernando Alonso||ALO||McLaren Renault||1:21.850||1:22.568|
|15||Daniel Ricciardo||RIC||Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer||1:21.280|
|16||Sergio Perez||PER||Force India Mercedes||1:21.888|
|17||Charles Leclerc||LEC||Sauber Ferrari||1:21.889|
|18||Brendon Hartley||HAR||Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda||1:21.934|
|19||Marcus Ericsson||ERI||Sauber Ferrari||1:22.048|
|20||Stoffel Vandoorne||VAN||McLaren Renault||1:22.085|