Verstappen ‘very confident’ after strong qualifying

© XPB 

Max Verstappen says he is “very confident” for Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix after the Toro Rosso rookie qualified a strong sixth at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

The Dutchman will line-up alongside team-mate Carlos Sainz on the third row of the grid, as both F1 debutants beat Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari, Felipe Massa’s Williams’ and fellow Red Bull stablemates Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat in Q3.

This is not the first time the Renault-powered STR10 outqualifies some of its more established rivals, although the momentum has not always extended on race day. But Verstappen is adamant Toro Rosso has what it takes to fight near the top five in Spain.

“When we had these (strong grid) positions before, there was always one Williams, or two Lotuses, or the Ferrari behind us and that’s the same thing now,” said the 17-year-old.

“But I think in terms of performance we’re looking much stronger than the other races we’ve had so far, compared to the guys behind us.

“I’m very confident for the race. Fifth and sixth will be hard but on this track, it’s difficult to overtake and we’re very strong in the fast corners. So if they can stay behind us for a few laps, we can kill their tyres.”

As ambitious as he is, Verstappen remains aware he will more likely be looking over this shoulder than ahead during the race, as current frontrunners belong to another league.

“We’re a bit more on the front, and normally the top four, we can’t keep up with them so there won’t be that much overtaking. I mean you don’t have a chance against them. We’ll just try to maintain fifth and sixth.”

Click here for Saturday's gallery from the Spanish Grand Prix

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter