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.

Italian GP contest: win a signed orange Max Verstappen driver cap!

Results qualifying Italy:

1Kimi RäikkönenRAIFerrari1:20.7221:19.8461:19.119
2Sebastian VettelVETFerrari1:20.5421:19.6291:19.280
3Lewis HamiltonHAMMercedes1:20.8101:19.7981:19.294
4Valteri BottasBOTMercedes1:21.3811:20.4271:19.656
5Max VerstappenVERRed Bull Racing TAG Heuer1:21.3811:20.3331:20.615
6Romain GrosjeanGROHaas Ferrari1:21.8871:21.2391:20.936
7Carlos SainzSAIRenault1:21.7321:21.5521:21.041
8Esteban OconOCOForce India Mercedes1:21.5701:21.3151:21.099
9Pierre GaslyGASScuderia Toro Rosso Honda1:21.8341:21.6671:21.350
10Lance StrollSTRWilliams Mercedes1:21.8381:21.4941:21.627
11Kevin MagnussenMAGHaas Ferrari1:21.7831:21.669
12Sergey SirotkinSIRWilliams Mercedes1:21.8131:21.732
13Fernando AlonsoALOMcLaren Renault1:21.8501:22.568
14Nico HulkenbergHULRenault1:21.801DNF
15Daniel RicciardoRICRed Bull Racing TAG Heuer1:21.280
16Sergio PerezPERForce India Mercedes1:21.888
17Charles LeclercLECSauber Ferrari1:21.889
18Brendon HartleyHARScuderia Toro Rosso Honda1:21.934
19Marcus EricssonERISauber Ferrari1:22.048
20Stoffel VandoorneVANMcLaren Renault1:22.085