Max Verstappen gives the thumbs up after taking pole

Max Verstappen has broken reigning champion Lewis Hamilton in the fight for pole position at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen confirmed Red Bull Racing’s ascendancy with a comfortable pole position over Lewis Hamilton at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.

The Dutchman held a slender 0.023s advantage over the Mercedes after the pair’s first laps of the top-10 shootout but radioed his team that he wasn’t happy with his lap, hinting at more pace to be squeezed from his RB16B. He duly delivered with a second blistering lap of 1m 28.997s, dismissing Hamilton by 0.388s.

It’s the first time Mercedes hasn’t taken the first pole position of the season since the 2013 Australian Grand Prix, also the scene of Red Bull Racing’s last season-opening pole.

Continue reading on RACER đź”—

Max Verstappen kept Red Bull Racing on top in the only night-time practice session at the Bahrain Grand Prix, while McLaren’s Lando Norris was his closest pursuer.

The Dutchman’s lap of 1m30.847s was enough to continue his control of the time sheet after also leading first practice in the heat of the late afternoon sun. Friday evening practice is the only session of the Bahrain Grand Prix representative of the after-dark qualifying and race conditions and is therefore considered a more accurate measure of relative performance.

Norris was the surprise next-quickest driver, only 0.095s adrift. His Mercedes-powered McLaren team suggested the Briton’s soft-shod lap was the car’s first performance run after eschewing low-fuel running during pre-season testing. Lewis Hamilton followed in third as the fastest Mercedes driver, but the Briton was 0.235s off Verstappen’s pace.

Continue reading on RACER đź”—

Max Verstappen opened the 2021 Formula 1 season with the fastest time of first practice for Red Bull Racing at the Bahrain Grand Prix. The Dutchman rocketed to the top of the time sheet with a lap of 1m31.394s in the final five minutes of the session with a fresh set of soft tires.

The Honda-powered RB16B was 0.298s quicker than Mercedes’s Valtteri Bottas, but the practice hour did little to clarify the competitive order between the two constructor giants.

Red Bull Racing and Mercedes spent the first half of the session rotating through top spot of the order, with Sergio Perez opening proceedings for his new team first before being usurped by Lewis Hamilton and in turn Bottas.

Continue reading on RACER đź”—

The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was no classic, but it marked the end of an unlikely 2020 season.

Max Verstappen has ended his 2020 in style with an easy win in Abu Dhabi over Mercedes teammates Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton.

The Red Bull Racing driver had no trouble converting pole to victory, with his Mercedes rivals struggling through the race with detuned engines to compensate for reliability concerns.

An early safety car presented the Dutchman’s only hurdle, but one he nailed his restart from the struggling Mercedes duo he needed only manage his tyres over an elongated final stint to cruise to the finishing line for his second win of the season.

Max Verstappen closed the 2020 Formula 1 season with an effortless victory for Red Bull Racing over Mercedes at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The Dutchman took his first pole in more than a year and deftly converted P1 on the grid into a comfortable three-second lead in the first 10 laps.

Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton were powerless in pursuit, the Mercedes duo holding their starting positions off the line but unable to make inroads on the Red Bull Racing car as it gradually escaped into the distance.

Continue reading on RACER đź”—

Max Verstappen has taken his first pole position of the season in a nailbiting qualifying hour for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The Dutchman swept to pole with a lap at the death to deprive the battling Mercedes drivers an easy run for the final race of the season, beating Valtteri Bottas by a slender 0.025 seconds and world champion Lewis Hamilton by 0.086 seconds.

It’s Verstappen first pole since last November’s Brazilian Grand Prix and the first pole of the year for a non-Mercedes-powered car.

Max Verstappen sensationally snatched pole position from Valtteri Bottas for the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, thwarting a sweep of 2020 qualifying sessions by Mercedes power units.

Verstappen pinched pole from the Finn by just 0.025s but without setting a purple sector at any split. It’s the first pole for the Red Bull Racing driver since last year’s Brazilian Grand Prix, and it makes Honda the first engine manufacturer other than Mercedes to start from the head of the grid this season.

The Dutchman dedicated his third career pole to his team at the end of a grueling season during which the RB16 has at best inconsistently matched the Mercedes for pure pace.

Continue reading on RACER đź”—

Max Verstappen will head into the final Formula 1 qualifying session of the year with the fastest time of third practice at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The Red Bull Racing driver’s best time came on his second run on a set of soft tires in the final five minutes, lowering the benchmark to 1m36.251s, the fastest lap of the weekend so far.

It was enough to beat teammate Alex Albon by half a second, the Thai driver improving late despite complaining of extreme understeer through the session. Renault teammates Daniel Ricciardo and Esteban Ocon followed 0.65s off the pace, both similarly finding time towards the conclusion of final practice.

Continue reading on RACER đź”—

Max Verstappen put Red Bull Racing on top for first practice at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The Dutchman used the soft tire in the second half of the session to set the benchmark at 1m37.378s, usurping Mercedes’s Valtteri Bottas by 0.034s.

Renault’s Esteban Ocon and Alex Albon in the second Red Bull Racing car were more than 1.1s off the pace in third and fourth.

Lewis Hamilton, returning to the paddock after missing last weekend’s Sakhir Grand Prix with COVID-19, was fifth fastest and 1.3s adrift after missing much of the first half of the session with a brake master cylinder problem.

Continue reading on RACER đź”—

Max Verstappen usurped Mercedes’s Friday practice control to take a slender advantage into qualifying for the Sakhir Grand Prix.

The Dutchman set his best time of 54.064s on his first flying lap on soft tires for the evening, having run on the hard compound until late in the session. It put the Red Bull Racing driver 0.206s ahead of Mercedes’s Valtteri Bottas, though the Finn surrendered at least a tenth of a second running wide past the curbs at the final corner of his best lap.

The two most likely rivals for victory this weekend were streets ahead of their teammates. Alex Albon in the second Red Bull Racing car was sixth and 0.565s off the pace, while George Russell — having topped both Friday practice sessions — slipped to seventh and 0.6s adrift in his Mercedes.

Continue reading on RACER đź”—

Max Verstappen led the FP3 time sheet after a quiet final hour of practice ahead of qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix.

The Dutchman broke Lewis Hamilton’s Friday practice streak with a time of 1m28.355s, the fastest lap of the weekend so far. He did so despite his Red Bull RB16 appearing to suffer from rear wing instability while using DRS, a problem his mechanics will seek to rectify in the two-hour break before qualifying.

Notwithstanding the problem, Verstappen’s time was enough to beat Hamilton to top spot by 0.263s.

Continue reading on RACER đź”—

Max Verstappen completed a practice clean sweep at the Turkish Grand Prix in a soaking wet FP3 in Istanbul.

The Red Bull Racing driver’s best effort was a 1m48.48s, enough to be 0.945s quicker than Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and 1.5s ahead of teammate Alex Albon, but times meant little at the end of the barely representative hour of running that featured precious few flying laps.

Drizzle had set in at Istanbul Park 40 minutes before the start of final practice and intensified as the session progressed, turning conditions treacherous.

Continue reading on RACER đź”—

Max Verstappen consolidated his place at the top of the time sheet in a greasy afternoon practice session at the Turkish Grand Prix.

The Dutchman topped FP1 earlier in the day when the freshly laid tarmac was treacherously slippery, but with more rubber laid into the Istanbul Park circuit he was able to lower the bar to a more representative 1m28.330s.

He was 0.4s quicker than Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and almost 0.6s quicker than Mercedes’s Valtteri Bottas, the last title challenger still in contention to overhaul championship leader Lewis Hamilton, who was a further 0.3s adrift in fourth.

Continue reading on RACER đź”—

Max Verstappen was quickest in Formula 1’s return to Turkey in a shockingly slippery first practice at Istanbul Park.

The Dutchman took his Red Bull Racing car to the top of the time sheet in the final minutes of the morning session, his 1m35.077s a quarter of a second faster than teammate Alex Albon and 0.4s quicker than Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.

Lewis Hamilton, aiming to seal his seventh title this weekend, finished in 15th after completing only three laps, while his only title challenger, teammate Valtteri Bottas, finished ninth with four tours.

Continue reading on RACER đź”—

Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen set the fastest time of Friday practice at the Belgian Grand Prix while Ferrari-powered cars continued to struggle at the back of the field.

Continue reading on RACER đź”—

“I didn’t see it coming!” a gleeful Max Verstappen said after winning the Formula One 70th Anniversary Grand Prix at Silverstone. And he wasn’t the only one.

Mercedes had been utterly dominant in qualifying on the previous day, having locked out the front row by almost a full second. On Saturday night another one-two finish seemed a certainty.

But unbeknownst to the paddock, the German marque was harbouring a critical weakness.