Grand prix

Verstappen hails Red Bull F1’s turnaround after securing front-row start | F1

Verstappen managed third in qualifying at Istanbul Park behind the two Mercedes drivers of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, but with his main title rival serving a grid penalty for an engine change, he will start from second.

The Dutchman struggled for pace during Friday practice, languishing six-tenths behind Hamilton in FP2.

Reflecting on qualifying, Verstappen was pleased with Red Bull’s turnaround from Friday.

“Yeah I mean of course qualifying in the beginning was quite tricky with the conditions but compared to yesterday we actually managed to turn it around quite well,” Verstappen said. “The laps, I think overall they were quite good even though the last lap we lost a bit down the straight, we have to look into that but there was not the lap time in it to fight for pole.

“Overall, I think quite a decent recovery compared to yesterday. Third is the maximum today and tomorrow lining up in second… let’s see what the weather will do overnight but overall I am pretty happy.”

Verstappen will go head-to-head with Bottas for the victory on Sunday, with Hamilton down in 11th.

The Red Bull driver is adamant tyre degradation will play a significant role in the grand prix.

“It should be a bit better,” Verstappen replied when asked about his overnight set-up changes. “Let’s see how competitive we’re going to be in the race. Also tyre wear seems quite high around this track. At least now the track is a lot of fun to drive, especially also the long left-hander, Turn 8. We will find out tomorrow.”

Verstappen sits second in the drivers’ championship going into the race, just two points behind Hamilton.

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