Verstappen blames 'turbo lag' for missing the front row

Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing RB15.
© XPB 

Max Verstappen said that he was suffering from issues with his turbocharger during today's qualifying session for the British Grand Prix.

He suggested that if he hadn't been held back by the problems then the Red Bull could have been a contender for pole position.

"We had a really good set-up, but we had turbo lag the whole day so all the time in the low-speed corners the engine was not responding," Verstappen told MBC after the end of qualifying.

"When you look at the lap time and you’re that close to pole, it’s a bit bittersweet," he sighed. "I would say as those issues definitely cost me one and a half or two-tenths, so I could have fought for pole.”

Instead, Verstappen will start from fourth place on the grid. He was just 0.183s away from the pole time set by Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas.

“In a way I’m very happy, because before qualifying I was really not happy,” he admitted. “The whole weekend I was struggling for balance.

"Around here in all those fast corners, when you don’t have the balance you just lose lap time, so we improved that in qualifying and the car was great.

"We seem to have found a good wing level for the straights. We usually have even better performance in the race, and with the good balance we had in qualifying I’m quite confident.

"The strategy will be very important because of the high energy levels put through the tyres on this track but I will be flat out and hopefully we can put up a good fight."

Verstappen will start just ahead of his team mate Pierre Gasly on the grid, who was fifth fastest in Saturday's session.

"I think as a team we can be happy with P4 and P5," he told the official Formula 1 website. "It was important after a good Friday to make sure we got a good starting position so we can be happy with that.

"We’ve been working well all weekend and I was in a happy place with the car coming into qualifying. My lap in Q3 wasn’t perfect but we can still be pleased that we’re P5.

"We know that in qualifying Mercedes and Ferrari usually turn up their engine which makes things a bit harder for us."

Tomorrow will be the second time in his F1 career that the French driver will start from fifth place on the grid. The last time was in Bahrain in 2018 when he was still with Toro Rosso.

Pierre Gasly (FRA) Red Bull Racing RB15.

It was certainly a good way for the 23=year-old to bounce back from a difficult few races which have put his position at the senior Red Bull team in 2020 under threat. So it was no surprise to see Gasly delighted with today's outcome.

"I'm really excited," Gasly beamed. "The whole weekend has been really positive and things are a lot better, so now we need to focus on tomorrow.

"Our race pace on Friday was good and I think we have a strong car," he added. "We start on the medium tyres, I think Ferrari are on a different strategy so I'm looking forward to it."

Team boss Christina Horner was delighted with the performances of both men in Saturday's session.

“This has been a strong qualifying for both drivers, lining up fourth and fifth and splitting the Ferraris with both cars.

"For Max, to qualify under two tenths off pole position at a power circuit like Silverstone is very satisfying.

"And it is good to see things coming together for Pierre who got his joint best qualifying position of the year," Horner added, referring to Monaco where Gasly received a three-place grid penalty and started from eighth.

"Pierre has turned a page since Austria and you can see from his first session today that his approach is different. He is much more confident in himself and the car, and this track is all about confidence to get a strong result.

"Strategically it is interesting that Ferrari are on the soft tyre tomorrow. It could spice things up as it puts them in the two stop region. All in all, it is set to be an exciting race for tomorrow."

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