Red Bull: Verstappen narrowly misses out on pole, Pérez shows qualifying improvements in Spain

    Image Credit: Red Bull Content Pool

    Red Bull Racing had a generally positive qualifying session at the Spanish Grand Prix, with both drivers qualifying in the top ten.

    Reigning world champion Max Verstappen narrowly missed out on claiming a 40th career pole position after McLaren's Lando Norris edged out his best lap time by 0.02 seconds right at the end of Q3.

    The 26-year-old Dutchman had been leading the final qualifying session by just over a tenth when he improved to 11:11.403, giving himself a buffer of just under three-tenths before Norris pulled out a sublime lap at the death to claim the second pole position of his career.

    Speaking after clinching P2, Verstappen commented: "I think in qualifying it was all coming together a bit nicer. The whole weekend we've been trying to find a bit of a connected balance because in all the practice sessions it was very difficult."

    "So, I was quite happy in qualifying. In Q3 I even got a nice little tow from Checo [Pérez] to Turn One to really extract everything we could."

    He added: "Unfortunately, it was just not enough but that is how it goes sometimes. I think overall we can still be very happy with this performance in qualifying and it's definitely all to play for tomorrow."

    Meanwhile, teammate Sergio Pérez showed some improvements in qualifying after a few forgettable races over the past month.

    After back-to-back races of failing to progress beyond Q1, Pérez managed to push into Q3 for the first time since the Miami Grand Prix, where he qualified P4.

    In the final qualifying session, he posted a best lap time of 1:12.061, which put him P8 and 0.678 seconds behind Norris - two tenths back from Alpine's Pierre Gasly in P7.

    Due to a three-place grid penalty handed to him after the Canadian Grand Prix for driving back to the pit lane with a heavily damaged car, Pérez will start tomorrow's race in P11.

    It will be a relief to the 34-year-old, who has had immense struggles in recent races after having begun the year in excellent form.

    However, it will still not be enough for the team and further improvements during this European triple header (with the Austrian and British Grands Prix over the next two weeks) will be expected.

    Speaking after qualifying, Pérez said: "It was a rather difficult session. We quickly struggled. Unfortunately, we didn't manage to put everything together when it mattered, which was in Q3. My lap wasn't enough at that time, we lacked pace."

    "We start 11th and it will be a tricky race. With the penalty, it makes things very difficult. We will try to push to get back up."

    He concluded: "Ideally, we'll be able to score some points and, if we can do that, it will be an incredible job from the whole team."

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