Max after the Friday in Austria: 'Happy how the car felt'

Published on 29 June 2019 by Mike Motilall

After the end of the first two free practices for the Austrian Grand Prix, Max Verstappen spoke with Olav Mol for Formule 1 Café, which is aired every Friday evening at 22.30 hrs on Ziggo Sport.

During the first part of the second free practice, Verstappen shot off track in Turn ten quite hard. Causing the session to end prematurely for the Dutchman. What exactly happened? “The entire session I was complaining that the car was very sensitive because of the wind. I took the corner with the same speed as the previous lap, but I suddenly lost the rear. Right at a spot where you would normally have understeer. You then realize that there is nothing more to gain and that you will hit the wall.”

The rear of the RB15 was severely damaged, but it doesn’t have any major impact for the rest of the race weekend in Spielberg: “Luckily we used a suspension just for the Friday. Actually, I did the mechanics a great favor, because they were able to get to work half an hour earlier and finish half an hour before time as well”, says Verstappen jokingly.

Does it get to you that you crashed or the fact that you will be missing track time? “It annoyed me more that I wasn’t able to finish the session, but I was happy how the car felt at that moment. Imagine that there would also be some issues and that not everything was going well, then it would get to you more of course. But things like that can happen.”

The 4,326 km long Red Bull Ring is a short, but treacherous circuit. It starts with Turn one: “I actually don’t like that corner”, says the Dutchman. “You brake and while turning in you get oversteer. After that there is a bump, which makes it difficult. You need to see how far you can go before you lose speed heading for the straight.”

Turn three also appears to have some challenges: “If you are well on the inside of the corner while braking, you always have wheel spin when exiting. That’s very annoying, especially during a qualifying lap. You need to consider if you want to brake late and miss the apex, or rather brake a little earlier but then run the risk of oversteering when exiting the corner. It is a tough corner to negotiate correctly.”

The last few races, we have seen teams opt more to do their fastest lap on the yellow mediums  during the second part of qualifying. Is that an option here as well, despite the short lap? “Who knows”, says Max. “If it feels alright, it could be, but we’ll see tomorrow. The soft tyre lasts a bit longer compared to the other races, but that doesn’t mean it’s a great tyre for the long runs.”

The session is rounded up with a short preview of the third free practice, which will take place tomorrow at 12.00 hrs. This won’t be any different than usually is according to Verstappen. Even though he crashed today: “Maybe I’ll do a couple of laps with a bit more fuel, but I have already let the team know that I don’t feel the need in doing a full stint.”

Austrian GP contest: Win a 1:43 scale model of Max' victory in Austria 2018!