Max Verstappen feels Spanish Grand Prix victory will be a 'tough' ask

Max Verstappen fears Ferrari may be just a little too far out of reach at the Spanish Grand Prix, as he and Red Bull had suspected.

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc had topped every practice session at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya and went on to finish P1 in the session that mattered most, that being Q3, thus claiming pole for the Spanish Grand Prix.

Leclerc had spun on his first flying lap, but responded when the pressure was on, knocking Verstappen down to P2 and putting himself in prime position for victory.

That was over one lap though – Ferrari’s struggles recently have revolved around tyre management, an aspect which is expected to be crucial in the Spanish GP due to the high temperatures and demanding track.

But even if Red Bull retain that advantage, Verstappen is not sure it would be enough to beat Ferrari and make it a hat-trick of wins.

Looking at the weekend so far, P2 is a good result. I would of course loved to give it one more push at the end, but we’ll save that for tomorrow’s race then 👊#KeepPushing #SpanishGP pic.twitter.com/XzzCbOwPXv

— Max Verstappen (@Max33Verstappen) May 21, 2022

Asked if he can win the Spanish Grand Prix, Verstappen told Sky F1: “I think it will be tough because what I saw this morning in their [Ferrari’s] long runs, they definitely picked up the pace also in their long runs.

“So, we’ll see tomorrow, I think they have little more of a pace advantage than I would have liked, even if let’s say we have better tyre management.

“But we’ll see, I’m still happy that we are second, it’s still a very long season and of course they came with upgrades, we didn’t, so I think it was also a little bit expected.”

 

Verstappen did not get the chance to respond to Leclerc. A problem with his DRS not opening meant there was no opportunity to improve.

So, Verstappen sees splitting the Ferraris as no bad thing.

“I think that was a good achievement,” he said of getting between the Ferrari pair.

“Of course I would have liked to be a little bit closer but of course without DRS it’s not going to happen.

Asked how much of impact it had, Verstappen replied: “Well it was already three or four-tenths in Turn 1, so I aborted my lap.”

As for whether it directly cost him pole position, Verstappen said that is a difficult question to answer.

“It’s always difficult to say, three-tenths is a big gap, but at least it could have been closer or at least I’d have had an opportunity, now I don’t know because I didn’t do that lap,” he said.

“And everyone seemed to improve anyway on that final run, and it’s quite normal, track temperatures were slowly dropping, but I think overall our weekend so far we have been struggling a tiny bit more than we would have liked around here.

“But nevertheless second I think is good.”

 

 

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