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Verstappen’s Tire Gamble Costs Azerbaijan Pole Position



Verstappen Azerbaijan Pole Position F1 2023

In a surprising twist at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Max Verstappen’s bold tire strategy backfired, causing him to lose the pole position to Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc. As Red Bull’s winning streak comes to an end, the team is left to regroup and learn from their mistakes, while Verstappen reflects on the gamble that ultimately cost him.

Max Verstappen expressed that he failed to secure the pole position for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix due to an unsuccessful change in his tire preparation technique.

For the first time in 2023, Red Bull lost the pole position to Ferrari and Charles Leclerc, with Verstappen securing second place on the grid and his teammate Sergio Perez following closely behind. Verstappen acknowledged that his final Q3 run preparation was not optimal after falling short of pole by nearly two-tenths of a second.

Upon exiting his car, Verstappen commented, “It’s always challenging to execute a flawless lap in this circuit. During the second run, we experimented with a different approach on the out lap, which might not have been the best choice for our final lap time.”

During the post-qualifying press conference, the Red Bull racer elaborated on the issue. “I was attempting to increase the temperature in the tires,” he explained.

“After Free Practice 1, you may not have a complete grasp on what you want to achieve in qualifying. The initial run went well, but it wasn’t perfect. So, we tried something different.

If it had been successful, it would have been hailed as a brilliant move, just like in Australia. However, this time, it didn’t work out as planned.”


During the final run, Verstappen felt less confident, which affected his performance. “When you already have that feeling, your confidence during the lap isn’t as high as it was in the previous one. I think that’s why the lap time didn’t come out as expected.”

Nonetheless, Verstappen believes Red Bull has a strong race car and will be competitive. “Ultimately, it’s not too bad for us. We know our race car is fast, and we need to capitalize on that during Sunday’s race. But first, we’ll see what we can achieve tomorrow.”

For Sunday’s Grand Prix, the grid is set, and drivers will participate in a separate qualifying session on Saturday morning for the sprint race later that day. Their grid positions from today’s qualifying will carry over to Sunday’s Grand Prix. Verstappen is eager to return to the second qualifying session tomorrow morning.

“I’m excited to see what we can accomplish,” he said. “Perhaps we can identify a few minor improvements to make.

“Overall, the key is to maintain a clean performance. Around here, it’s incredibly easy to make a mistake, which is something we definitely want to avoid. We’ll see how things unfold.”

Verstappen Azerbaijan Pole Position F1 2023 Verstappen Azerbaijan Pole Position F1 2023 Verstappen Azerbaijan Pole Position F1 2023 Verstappen Azerbaijan Pole Position F1 2023

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