Max Verstappen believes he would have had a chance of being on pole position for the Hungarian Grand Prix if he had not taken the chequered flag before his final lap in Q3.
The Red Bull driver was at the back of the queue of cars lining up to start their final attempts, but had to wait for those ahead to speed up in order to create a gap. The 18-year-old eventually ran out of time to start his lap as the chequered flag came out less than two seconds before he crossed the line, and he believes he could have challenged for pole position based on his first sector time.
"What I could have done?" Verstappen said. "It was a bit unfortunate to miss out by one or two seconds to the red light. Because everybody was backing off in the last sector, and I was the last car.
"So I wanted to create a free space because once you are stuck behind them you are not going to improve your lap time anyway. In the end, even if I had made it, I would not have improved my time because there was a yellow flag.
"Once I got the chequered flag I like OK I just keep pushing and we will see what happens. And I was straight away half a second faster in the first sector, so if you count that off the lap time I had did, that would be very close to Nico. So it is a bit unfortunate, but at the end we are still on the second row, so everything is possible for tomorrow."
Despite feeling he could have fought for pole position, Verstappen says he is happy with his grid slot after such a disrupted qualifying session.
"I felt very comfortable in the car. Qualifying was a bit of a lottery because as a driver you couldn’t go to the limit because you want to put a clean lap in, you don’t want to make mistake, because as soon as you go a little bit off line you lock up and you go in the water. That is what happened to me in my first run in Q3. So then you are a bit more cautious.
"I was happy to be on the second row because in Q1 and Q2 the track was really difficult. You could see a lot of crashes happening. So it was mainly just to get through all the qualifying zones and then in Q3 you needed a bit of luck to qualify well."