• Malaysian GP - Qualifying

Verstappen: Brakes cost me better than sixth

Nate Saunders
March 28, 2015 « Rosberg didn't block me - Hamilton | We made life difficult - Raikkonen »
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Seventeen-year-old Max Verstappen will start his second Formula One race from sixth on the grid but admitted it could have been even better without a brake issue in Malaysia.

Family fortunes

  • By qualifying sixth, Max Verstappen has already equalled the best his father, Jos, managed in 107 attempts between 1994 and 2003.

In a rain-affected qualifying session the Toro Rosso rookie, who became F1's youngest-ever driver in Australia, turned in a sublime performance to earn a spot on the third row. Verstappen said the rain masked a brake issue he had been struggling with in the dry.

"I was really happy that it started to rain because I was struggling a lot with the brakes today; we still have to find the issue as I was losing a lot in every high-braking zone," he said. "So I was really happy it started to rain in Q2 because then I had a chance in Q3 in the wet, which is what I like. I was confident it chould have been a good qualifying [after it rained]."

However the Dutchman thinks that same brake issue - which he confirmed Toro Rosso will investigate overnight - may have prevented him from lining up on the second row for tomorrow.

"My lap was quite good - I was still struggling with the brakes in the high-braking zones, which cost me P5 for sure. But P6, for my second qualifying, I think I can't complain."

Most impressively is the fact Verstappen got the job done with his first proper wet laps in a Formula One car, though he thinks this is one area where he excels.

"In [pre-seasion testing in] Jerez I did a few laps, but that was already a drying track so really this was the first time for me in the wet. I think it's also been in the family. In Holland it rains a lot so I'm used to driving in the rain. I'm very confident driving in the rain and I'm always very confident in the rain. When the car is also working perfectly - except the brakes, the car itself was handling itself very well - if gives you confidence and you can push."

Verstappen lines up behind both Red Bulls but the teenager is confident he can take the fight to Toro Rosso's fellow Renault customers on Sunday.

"We are in front of the cars with higher top speed. I was really happy with that because if you are behind it is difficult to overtake and you have to do it in the pit stops. Hopefully I can have a good start tomorrow and I think the pace we have is close to the Red Bulls so hopefully we can challenge them as well."

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