F1 News, Reports and Race Results

Verstappen "couldn’t have really wished for more" in qualifying

Max Verstappen could not have have been happier after taking pole position for the 2024 Chinese Grand Prix in emphatic fashion in Saturday's qualifying session at Shanghai International Circuit.

It's the 100th pole for the team, with the first of them coming 15 years ago at the same venue. With Sergio Perez making it a 1-2, Verstappen was half a second clear of the best of the non-Red Bull runners.

"I couldn’t have really wished for more," he said. “Before I jumped in the car Christian told me if you get pole today it could be number 100 for the team, so I was like, ‘Okay, that’s nice, I’ll try and give it a good go’.

“Of course that’s an incredible achievement for the whole team," he said. "But it’s fantastic also to have the 1-2 in qualifying, it showed that the car is again working really well."

Before qualifying on Saturday, the team was able to make set-up changes after winning the Sprint race. "The sprint race it gave us a few more ideas for the car and I think the car worked even better in qualifying now.

"We changed the fittings on the car and they worked out really well, so I’m very pleased," Verstappen continued. "We have a lot better understanding of the car at the moment and that is continuing to pay off.

"The car was really nice to drive, and also in Q3 I think that final lap felt pretty decent," he continued. "Also very happy to be able to drive here in the dry. The conditions were pretty good, so it was a lot of fun."

However yesterday's wet session had had its advantages. "Because yesterday we had a bit of rain, we had extra sets of tyres so you could practice a bit more," he explained.

"New tyres are getting put on every single time so you know where you can find a little bit more in every single corner," he said. “Every time besides my first run in Q3, we were going a bit faster.

"I think the track evolution wasn't that massive around here, but that's fine," he said. "Definitely very happy with how the whole of qualifying went," adding: "Hopefully that will also pay off tomorrow.”

It had been a somewhat more fraught session for Perez who came close to missing the first cut in Q1 when he came across traffic while on his initial flying lap and was left without a time.

“I nearly got knocked out in Q1. I had traffic with one of the Williams [cars]. I had to abort my lap and came back on hot, used tyres and just made it through in P15. It was just a very messy start to qualifying.

“Q2 was a little bit more straightforward, I could really get a read into the balance, and we were making some nice progress through the session."

While he didn't quite have the pace to beat Verstappen to pole, a front row starting spot gives him every hope for success tomorrow.

“I think it's everything to play for," he said. We can be fighting from there and we can definitely have a strong rhythm, adding that his third place in the Sprint had shown that they had good race pace in long runs.

Hopefully we can put on a good" show for the Chinese fans who haven’t had Formula 1 here for a lot of years."

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Andrew Lewin

Andrew first became a fan of Formula 1 during the time when Michael Schumacher and Damon Hill were stepping into the limelight after the era of Alain Prost, Nigel Mansell and Aryton Senna. He's been addicted ever since, and has been writing about the sport now for nearly a quarter of a century for a number of online news sites. He's also written professionally about GP2 (now Formula 2), GP3, IndyCar, World Rally Championship, MotoGP and NASCAR. In his other professional life, Andrew is a freelance writer, social media consultant, web developer/programmer, and digital specialist in the fields of accessibility, usability, IA, online communities and public sector procurement. He worked for many years in magazine production at Bauer Media, and for over a decade he was part of the digital media team at the UK government's communications department. Born and raised in Essex, Andrew currently lives and works in south-west London.

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