Dutchman Max Verstappen will start from third on the grid at Sunday’s Portuguese Grand Prix for Aston Martin Red Bull Racing with teammate Alex Albon in sixth as they look to get amongst the Mercedes drivers.
Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda duo Pierre Gasly and Daniil Kvyat will start from ninth and 13th respectively at the Algarve International Circuit for round 12 of the season.
Aston Martin Red Bull Racing
MAX VERSTAPPEN – 3rd
“I’m happy with qualifying, my Q3 lap was pretty decent and third is a good starting position. This weekend we have seen the new tarmac make it quite difficult to get the tyres in the right window, which was the same for everyone, so it was a bit hit and miss but we are not too far behind Mercedes and there’s a lot to play for tomorrow.
I think the start is going to be important as I’m on the soft tyre while the others around me are on the medium but nobody has a lot of information about how the tyres are going to hold up. We’ll just feel our way into the race and push hard as always and sometimes a bit of unpredictability from the tyres makes things more interesting. If it is also windy and raining then it will be even more of an unknown but I hope that whatever the conditions we can be in a good position to push Mercedes tomorrow.”
ALEX ALBON – 6th
“I would have liked to be further up there but we can work from P6. I was pretty happy with my lap but the hardest thing for us was switching the tyres on as the track has been weird all weekend with the new surface and changing wind conditions. In Q3 we decided to run out of sync compared to everyone else and I think I would’ve gone quicker with one more push lap on the medium tyre.
We opted to change to the soft for the final run which is a very different compound in terms of how you maximise it so you have to readjust and change your driving style which does affect your rhythm slightly. The weather is mixed for tomorrow and the rain is meant to be coming, so anything can happen. It’s a long run to Turn One and no one has really completed a proper long run yet so we’ll discover as we go along and make the most of the opportunities.”
CHRISTIAN HORNER – Team Principal
“I think we can be pleased with third and sixth with Max and Alex today in what turned out to be an unusual qualifying session with regards to track conditions. Heading into qualifying there were many unknowns at this new circuit in terms of tyre performance and track evolution but both drivers showed good pace throughout and Max was unlucky to just miss out on splitting the Mercedes, who opted to qualify on the medium tyre.
Alex also progressed well throughout each session and with alternating tyre strategy between runs in Q3 he did well to respond and adapt to the changing conditions to secure sixth on the grid.
I think tomorrow’s race will be very interesting with the possibility of inclement weather and difference in tyre strategies from those around us but I’m confident both drivers can progress well and produce a good result for the Team.”