Max Verstappen enjoyed a “good fight” with Lewis Hamilton to win F1’s first-ever sprint qualifying event at Silverstone on Saturday but admitted he has concerns about a lack of straight-line speed that could harm his pace in the race itself.
Verstappen out-dragged pole-sitter Hamilton off the grid and held off the hounding Mercedes to win the sprint, claiming three points and the prize of pole position for the grand prix on Sunday.
Verstappen said: “Around here it’s difficult to pass but we had a good start and a good fight with Lewis in the first lap and then we tried to do our own pace but you could see we were pushing each other hard.
“You could see at the end of the race the tyres were blistering a lot, so we had to manage that to the end. But nevertheless, happy to have scored those three points.
“It sounds a bit funny to then hear you scored a pole position, but anyway we will take it and I think it will be a really exciting battle tomorrow.”
Verstappen worried by straight-line issue
In the gloves-off sprint, where both drivers selected medium tyres and there was no strategy to interfere with the pure driver-vs-driver challenge, Verstappen came home just 1.43secs ahead of Hamilton.
The half-hour-long 17-lap event was totally different to the race itself, which will be the traditional one-and-a-half hours and will see the pair face a much more tactical battle, one in which Verstappen feels there is more to fear.
Verstappen added: “We started the race on lower fuel and then we really push these cars through the fast corners lap after lap so it is very hard on tyres but it’s the same for everyone so we have to deal with it.
“We are not allowed to touch the car. We are quick in corners, so that’s where we have to make sure we do the same tomorrow.
“The straight-line speed, that’s the thing, after FP1 you cannot make any changes so that’s a bit tricky for us now but we will have to deal with it. I sill think we can have a very strong race.”
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