The Silver Arrows locked out the front row at the Chinese Grand Prix as Valtteri Bottas took pole with Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton second but one superstar wasn’t happy.
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That man was Red Bull ace and Daniel Ricciardo’s former teammate Max Verstappen.
Although the Dutchman qualified fifth for the race he was left furious about several drivers passing him at the hairpin on his preparation lap.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel was the first to go past him then the two Renaults of Ricciardo and Hulkenberg as Verstappen, stuck didn’t get over the start/finish line before the chequered flag dropped.
“F**k, I’m finished mate,” he said over the team radio.
Red Bull brat fumes during qualifying.
“Everybody just ****ed it up.”
He then went on to suggest that what goes around comes around and the other drivers might get some comeuppance later in the year.
“I could also have overtaken the Ferrari in front but it’s just not what you do in qualifying,” Verstappen said
“It’s like an unwritten rule that you just agree that if you get to the last sector, you just stay behind each other. And I was playing nice, staying behind Charles … and suddenly, out of the hairpin, they just start to overtake you. So it’s not nice but I’ll remember it and next qualifying, if it comes up, I’ll know what to do.”
Red Bull boss Christian Horner also lamented what might have been for his star driver.
“A bit of jockeying position just before the start of the lap. Max was in a good position, Seb passed him round the outside so he’s hung back and then a Renault has passed him.
“It was a shame because I think we could have made the second row.”
Daniel Ricciardo qualified seventh.
Vettel put his Ferrari in third, while teammate Charles Leclerc was fourth before the Red Bulls of Verstappen and Pierre Gasly had the third row.
Vettel seemed to intimate in his post qualifying press conference that Verstappen only had himself to blame.
“Everybody … timed it around the same, so we all left for same spot,” said Vettel. “If you were at end of train, which I was, it was difficult. When they said I only had 10-second margin, I had to think of something. I don’t know if others weren’t told. If everyone sped up, we would have all made it. I prioritised at that moment to make that up. It felt like others were not aware.”
Ricciardo put in his best qualifying performance since joining Renault to pip teammate Hulkenberg by .004 seconds for seventh but was still almost 1.4 seconds behind Bottas.
The Australian suggested that those who have been critical of his performance since joining Renault need to wait for results.
Daniel Ricciardo has put his Renault in the top ten on the grid in China.“It’s only the third race. I think some people are thinking we’ve had half a season already. It hasn’t been that long,” Ricciardo said when asked whether the early season criticism directed at him is fair.
Mercedes dominate qualifying in Shanghai
“I haven’t done anything that makes me forget how to drive. I know it’s been a long time since I was on a podium, but I still remember what to do. (People) just need a bit of patience.
“In football, for example, one guy gets a hatrick and the next two games doesn’t score a goal. It’s like ‘what happened?’. One week ago he was the king of the show.
“When you’re at the top level in any sport, people always have the expectation that you should be at the top every single day.”
And as for where Renault are at Ricciardo felt that seventh and eighth right now is a fair reflection — they’re not close to the big three teams but are at the head of the pack this weekend as far as the midfield teams go.
“On paper, we’re at the front end of our group. The three teams in front of us do have faster cars at the moment, so if everyone has their best race, realistically seventh is probably our best result we can ask for,” Ricciardo said.
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