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Verstappen relaxed over enforced strategy switch after sensational pole

Verstappen relaxed over enforced strategy switch after sensational pole

F1 News

Verstappen relaxed over enforced strategy switch after sensational pole

Verstappen relaxed over enforced strategy switch after sensational pole

Max Verstappen is relaxed over starting the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on soft tyres despite an error forcing Red Bull's hand on the way to a sensational pole position for the season finale.

The Dutchman looked like he would have to settle for second-best behind F1 title rival Lewis Hamilton as the Mercedes lay down the gauntlet through practice and the first part of qualifying.

After flat-spotting the set of mediums he had set his fastest time of Q2 on, Verstappen was forced to switch to the red-walled soft tyres and an offset in his strategy compared to Mercedes.

Yet in Q3, the 24-year-old took a stunning pole by 0.371secs over Hamilton with the help of team-mate Sergio Perez, who offered a tow down the two long straights at Yas Marina.

"It is an amazing feeling," said Verstappen. "We definitely improved the car in qualifying because so far this weekend it was a bit on and off.

"Incredibly happy with this. It is of course what we wanted but it is never easy, especially with their form in the last few races.

"I am looking forward to tomorrow because that is what is most important."

On what practice had taught him about the alternate strategy he has been forced to switch to, he replied: "I felt good on both tyres.

"Naturally, now in the evening it is cooler so should be a bit easier on the soft tyres but we will see tomorrow.

"It is important to have a very good start and from there onwards, we will just try to do the race to our very best and we will see where we end up."

Dismissing pressure, Verstappen insisted: "I was very relaxed going into qualifying.

"I always do the best I can and I know my team always give me the best possible car. We have been doing that already the whole year and again today, it worked really well."

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