Between third free practice and qualifying in Austin, news broke that Red Bull Racing founder Dietrich Mateschitz had passed away at the age of 78.
After the fastest session of the weekend, where Max Verstappen took third place, which will give him second position on the grid after Charles Leclerc’s penalty for changing the engine, the two-time world champion acknowledged that Mateschitz meant a lot to him. Not only in his racing career in Formula 1, but also in his life off the track.
“It was a very difficult message for all of us to receive,” said the reigning world champion shortly after Q3. “It has meant a lot to Red Bull, to the series and to me. Not only for my career, but for my life in general.”
“This is a very tough day. Obviously we tried to give it our all in qualifying but we fell a bit short. There’s another race ahead of us. We’ll try to make Dietrich proud this Sunday.”
The Dutch driver closed the third free practice session on Saturday afternoon as the fastest and seemed to have a good chance of achieving pole position, but he did not set the fastest time in any of the three qualifying rounds at the Circuit of the Americas.
In Q3, the most important round, he said he had to interrupt his first fast lap. On the final lap, Verstappen seemed to have a chance after painting the first two sectors purple, but lost time in the third sector.
He eventually finished third, behind the Ferraris, but due to a grid penalty from Charles Leclerc, he will move up to second and drop behind poleman Carlos Sainz, who set a best time of 1m34.356s.
The RB18’s race pace has proven better than qualifying pace on many occasions this season and that makes Verstappen optimistic going into Sunday.
“Our car is usually stronger in the race than in qualifying. The margins today were also very small again. The tires working a little better already made a big difference. However, we are there and I hope we are strong in the race.” “, he concluded.
Do you want to read our news before anyone else and for free? Follow us here on our Telegram channel and you won’t miss a thing. All the information, at your fingertips!