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Max Verstappen Ally Reacts to Sprint Qualifying Failure Despite Conditions Playing to Dutchman’s Strength

Nischay Rathore

Max Verstappen Ally Reacts to Sprint Qualifying Failure Despite Conditions Playing to Dutchman’s Strength

Max Verstappen was miles ahead until SQ2 when the conditions were dry. The competition, however, turned on its head as the session progressed to SQ3. Rain brought an added challenge for the drivers as they struggled to keep their cars within track limits. These are the conditions Verstappen often thrives in. However, he could not on this occasion, as Lando Norris, Lewis Hamilton, and Fernando Alonso all registered a lap time quicker than him.

Red Bull simulator driver Rudy Van Buren reacted to the session in an interview with Viaplay. He said, “I don’t know if he likes it in fourth place. Normally, he likes these conditions. It’s a bit like Bambi on ice. It’s playing, it’s fingerspitzengefühl. You can attach all kinds of terms to it, but as a driver, this is very cool.”

Given the advantage at offer owing to two long straights, most teams were running a low downforce setting. Those included Red Bull.

While that played into their hands on a dry track, it turned into a bane just as the rain began falling. Max Verstappen went off the track twice but managed not to crash. McLaren, on the other hand, were on a more neutral setting which meant they had just enough downforce to make the car driveable on a wet track.

Despite that, Lando Norris went off into the gravel in the final corner on the launch lap before his final flying lap. That led to the FIA deleting his previous lap but the one after it turned out to be worthy of pole position.

Lando Norris confident of beating Max Verstappen but on one condition

Until now, Lando Norris has downplayed McLaren’s progress, often highlighting the weaknesses of the car. The sprint pole, however, brought a welcome change in the Briton’s demeanor as he appeared more confident.

When asked if beating the rivals behind him was possible on Saturday, Norris appeared confident. He is, however, not so sure if the conditions turn out to be dry, which would play to the other teams’ advantage.

Speaking with Lawrence Barretto after the session, Norris said, “I don’t think we have the pace of the Red Bull in outright conditions, in the dry especially. But in the wet, [we are] surprisingly very quick. I could get good tire temps and could push hard. “

Weather predictions in Shanghai show overcast conditions for Saturday. However, the chances of rain are quite low until the evening. While this would play in the hands of Max Verstappen and Red Bull, Norris will be desperately praying for a wet track.

Post Edited By:Vidit Dhawan

About the author

Nischay Rathore

Nischay Rathore


Nischay Rathore is an F1 journalist at The SportsRush with over a thousand articles under his belt. An avid Ayrton Senna admirer, Nischay embarked on his sports journalism journey despite completing graduation in Law. When not covering the high-speed thrills of the pinnacle of motorsport, he can be seen enjoying crime thrillers and 90s gangster movies with a hearty bowl of buttery popcorn.

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