AUSTIN, Texas — Max Verstappen said qualifying sixth for the U.S. Grand Prix should make his race on Sunday “a bit more fun” as he looks to claim his 15th win of the season.
The Red Bull driver, who sealed his third championship at the last grand prix in Qatar, brushed off the disappointing result.
“Of course it’s a bit unfortunate but it makes the Sunday also a bit more fun,” he told reporters in Austin.
“I knew in Turn 19 that it was going to be a close call. I had a little mistake in Turn 1 so I had to really push for it in the rest of the lap.
“It’s fine margins, honestly, I didn’t even understeer, I just tried to really maximize the corner and I misjudged it by a little bit. It’s very fine margins when you are pushing to the limit.”
Asked what his expectations are starting from sixth behind two Mercedes cars, two Ferraris and a McLaren, Verstappen added: “Of course we want to win so for sure today was not ideal.
“But it’s still a long race and there’s a lot of things we can do better and have a bit of fun out there as well.”
Leclerc, who starts from pole position for the third time this season, expects Verstappen to feature in the battle for victory on Sunday and during the sprint race on Saturday.
“For sure, as always,” the Ferrari driver said. “Red Bull is always very strong, and Max this year is always on it. So yeah. For sure, he will be a threat and up there tomorrow.”