After some free practice in which Charles Leclerc and Ferrari left very positive feelings and clear superiority over all their rivals, Max Verstappen surprised everyone by setting the best qualifying time.
Due to the renewed sprint format, the drivers had to face the Imola qualifying session having completed only one hour of practice and, moreover, in the wet, on a track that had changing conditions during the more than 60 minutes of qualifying.
Between red flag and red flag, Verstappen managed to gain a foothold with his Red Bull RB18 and caught Leclerc by surprise who started as the great favorite to take pole after seeing how Carlos Sainz went against the wall in the middle of the second qualifying round.
In the last attempt of Q3, Lando Norris lost control of his McLaren and went straight into the wall, preventing Leclerc from improving the Dutchman’s last time before starting the red flag dance, securing the first position for the driver. of the energy drink team.
As soon as he got out of his car, Verstappen made an analysis of everything that happened during qualifying and confirmed that it was “complicated” and “long”, but that finishing in first position was a great source of joy for him and his team.
“Yeah, it was tricky, you know, first it was rain, then it was dry and then it was rain again, the track was very slippery and it was hard to get the tire temperatures to work, it was a long qualifying.
“But yeah, I’m really happy to be here. It’s an amazing circuit, which also punishes you a lot if you make a mistake. You can go to the wall and that’s what we like, knowing that it’s really difficult.”
“So yeah, I’m very pleased of course with pole position. I also know that tomorrow and Sunday will be a bit different in terms of weather conditions and so on, but at least we have a good start to the weekend.”
After a difficult start to the season, Max Verstappen hopes to begin to turn the situation around at this Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, leaving behind the two retirements that frustrated his chances in two of the three races held.
“Yes, our first races generally didn’t go as planned, but we will try to have a good weekend here,” concluded the Dutch Red Bull driver.