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Max Verstappen second in exciting Barcelona qualifying: 'Just not enough'

Published on 22 June 2024 by Florence Cobben

Max Verstappen qualified in second for the Spanish Grand Prix. In an exciting qualifying, the Oracle Red Bull Racing-driver seemed to be looking at pole position, but was ultimately beaten by Lando Norris in his McLaren, who went two-hundredths of a second faster than Max. Lewis Hamilton and George Russell's Mercedes ended up in third and fourth place.

After qualifying, Max reflected on his performance: "The whole weekend we've been trying to find a connected balance. In all the practice sessions it was very difficult. So I was quite happy in qualifying. I even in Q3 got a nice little tow from Checo into turn 1 to really extract everything we could. Unfortunately it was just not enough. But that's just how it goes sometimes. I think overall we can still be very happy with this performance in qualifying and it's definitely all to play tomorrow." 

Max continues: "I do think (the temperature) was a bit more fun in qualifying. Even throughout qualifying the wind started to pick up a little bit... Maybe that made it a bit more difficult for us. But overall, good performance in qualifying."

In the past couple of races, Max has received a lot of competition from Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes. Does he prefer claiming pole by a wide margin, or does he like the competition? "At the end of the day, they're never really easy poles, because you're always in a battle with yourself. But, ofcourse now its with more teams, and I think that is good for Formula 1 in general. And ofcourse when it's always that close, for a pole position, I think that's always great."

It's dry and sunny with a pleasant temperature of 24 degrees at the start of the qualifying session on the 4.657 meter long Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. Zhou Guanyu is the first driver out on track, and other midfield teams soon follow. Like usual, the top teams wait a while longer with sending out their drivers. Max appears on a set of soft tyres and sets a 1:12.257 time, claiming first place. As Max heads into the pits, Charles Leclerc improves on Max's time in his Ferrari. In the closing stages of Q1, Max does not make another appearance. Hamilton goes P1, leaving Max in P3 and through to Q2. The losers of the first qualifying sessoin are: Kevin Magnussen (P16), both RB-drivers of Yuki Tsunoda (P17) and Daniel Ricciardo (P18) and both Williams-drivers Alexander Albon (P19) and Logan Sargeant (P20).

In Q2 also many drivers wait before taking to the track, with only 10 minutes to spare, causing a queue in the pitlane. Max sets a 1:11.653 time, once again going fastest. Max again stays in the pit and does not try to improve on his time. Exiting stage left are: Fernando Alonso (P11), Valtteri Bottas (P12), Nico Hulkenberg (P13), Lance Stroll (P14) and Zhou Guanyu (P15).

In Q3, Max sets a time of 1:11.673, a fraction slower than his time in Q2, but good for pole position. Norris closes in on Max in P2, about a tenth behind, followed by Hamilton and Russell's Mercedes in P3 and P4. It's time for the last runs. Max improves on his time, setting a 1:11.403, but moments later Lando Norris goes faster by two thousandths of a second, and the McLaren driver claims pole. Max Verstappen will be next to Norris on the front row tomorrow, followed by Hamilton and Russell on P3 and P4. The Ferraris occupy the third row, with Charles Leclerc on fifth and Carlos Sainz in sixth. Pierre Gasly impresses by claiming seventh, with Sergio Perez, Esteban Ocon and Oscar Piastri completing the top ten. 

The Spanish Grand Prix starts tomorrow at 15:00.

Contest GP Spain: win a by Max Verstappen signed Racing cap!

Results qualifying Spain:

1Lando NorrisNORMcLaren Mercedes1:12.3861:11.8721:11.383
2Max VerstappenVERRed Bull Racing Honda RBPT1:12.3061:11.6531:11.403
3Lewis HamiltonHAMMercedes1:12.1431:11.7921:11.701
4George RussellRUSMercedes1:12.4561:11.8121:11.703
5Charles LeclercLECFerrari1:12.2571:12.0381:11.731
6Carlos SainzSAIFerrari1:12.4031:11.8741:11.736
7Pierre GaslyGASAlpine Renault1:12.6511:12.0791:11.857
8Sergio PerezPERRed Bull Racing Honda RBPT1:12.4771:12.0541:12.061
9Esteban OconOCOAlpine Renault1:12.6911:12.1091:12.125
10Oscar PiastriPIAMcLaren Mercedes1:12.4601:12.011DNF
11Fernando AlonsoALOAston Martin Mercedes1:12.5051:12.128
12Valtteri BottasBOTKick Sauber Ferrari1:12.7581:12.227
13Nico HulkenbergHULHaas Ferrari1:12.7081:12.310
14Lance StrollSTRAston Martin Mercedes1:12.8811:12.372
15Zhou GuanyuZHOKick Sauber Ferrari1:12.8801:12.738
16Kevin MagnussenMAGHaas Ferrari1:12.937
17Yuki TsunodaTSURB Honda RBPT1:12.985
18Daniel RicciardoRICRB Honda RBPT1:13.075
19Alexander AlbonALBWilliams Mercedes1:13.153
20Logan SargeantSARWilliams Mercedes1:13.509