Max Verstappen admits he welcomed the Malaysian afternoon downpour as it eased the braking problem he had been coping with and allowed the Toro Rosso rookie to clinch his maiden Q3 berth.
After rain hit the Sepang International Circuit in Q2, the 17-year-old Dutchman starred in the final phase of qualifying and will line up sixth on tomorrow’s starting grid.
This means that Verstappen has already equaled his father Jos’ best Formula One qualifying result, which came at the 1994 Belgian Grand Prix when he was driving for Benetton.
What’s more, the FIA European Formula 3 graduate’s sixth spot is the best grid position for a teenager since Mexico’s Ricardo Rodriguez hoisted his Ferrari to second at the 1961 Italian Grand Prix, aged 19.
“I was really happy that it started to rain because I was struggling a lot with the brakes today,” said Verstappen.
“We still have to find the issue with it because I was losing a lot in every high braking zone. So I was really happy that it started to rain in Q2 so that I had a chance in Q3 in the wet.
“It’s what I like and I was very confident that it should be a good qualifying. My lap was pretty good, I was still struggling with the brakes in the high braking zones, that cost me P5 for sure, but P6 for a second qualifying I think I can’t complain.”
Although he feels confident about his race pace ahead of tomorrow’s Grand Prix, Verstappen says he and Toro Rosso must address the brake issue in order to enhance his chances to become the youngest F1 point scorer ever.
“We still have to discover what the problem is because if we have this in the race tomorrow it will be very hard to manage.”
“Sometimes you lock a left or right front. It’s really tricky.”
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