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Verstappen: Honda party mode making a difference

Verstappen: Honda party mode making a difference

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Verstappen: Honda party mode making a difference

Verstappen: Honda party mode making a difference

Max Verstappen said he was able to feel the difference of Honda's extra power modes after securing an unexpected spot on the second row of the grid in qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix. Verstappen split the Ferraris of Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc to qualify fourth.

Verstappen's late show to take P4 ended qualifying on a high for Red Bull after the low of seeing Pierre Gasly eliminated in Q1 due to a strategic error.

Red Bull regularly complained over recent seasons that Renault had not provided them with the same 'party modes' available to the likes of Mercedes and Ferrari in qualifying.

Although the power boost was not enough to put Verstappen in reach of the Mercedes, with pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton seven tenths ahead, the Dutchman came away happy with his Saturday efforts.

"I am pretty happy with the way qualifying went," he said.

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"After some of the difficulties we've had this weekend, especially this morning, I was a bit worried but the guys here and back at the factory have been working really well together to find a good set-up and I think we can be pleased with the second row.

"It was really tight in Q1 and on a street circuit like this you really have to nail the first run.

"I was lucky to have that second lap on the board where I improved but it was really tight, especially as we only used one set of tyres, unlike many others.

"I definitely felt the extra performance coming from the qualifying mode which is also very pleasing.

"It has been tricky finding a good balance and we are of course not where we want to be in terms of the gap, but we also have to be realistic and happy with this grid position.

"Fourth is better than we expected going into qualifying.

"It's difficult to say where we will be tomorrow and I didn't get to do a full long run on Friday, but it looks like the tyres are holding on quite well, so as long as we get a clean start, we will find out what we can really do."

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