Verstappen explains near crash with Norris in Japan – Formula 1 News

Max Verstappen almost got involved in a collision with Norris in Japan, but took pole without any problems (Photo: AFP)

Max Verstappen did not give gaps for the Ferrari and secured the pole position of the japan GP in classification held this Saturday (8), with a flying lap of 1min29s304 that relegated Charles Leclerc to the second position — Carlos Sainz wide in third. The championship leader, who needs to win and get the extra point for the fastest lap to become champion this weekend, highlighted the happiness of being able to return to the Asian country after two seasons of absence due to the pandemic and the challenging circuit of Suzukawith the already known and winding first sector.

“It’s always amazing to drive here, especially in qualifying, when you’re low on fuel – these cars really come to life throughout the first sector,” said an excited Verstappen. “So of course I’m really happy to be on pole, but overall I’m really happy to be back here.”

Shortly after leaving the car, Verstappen headed to the back of the car. RB18 and checked the air duct, which would have broken during his last attempt at a fast lap and prevented him from getting a lower time. In the end, it wasn’t necessary, and his first lap in Q3 already served to secure pole in Japan.

“I lost a part of the duct [traseiro] on my last lap”, lamented the current champion. “Maybe that’s why I couldn’t improve my time, but still, the first lap was good enough,” he celebrated.

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Not even a break in the rear duct stopped Max Verstappen from securing pole in Japan (Photo: Red Bull Content Pool)

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Verstappen even explained the dangerous scene he lived with Lando Norris in the final moments of qualifying, when he rocked the car in the middle of the track with the intention of warming up the tires and threw it towards the Brit, who was passing and had to go to the grass to escape the RB18. Investigated after the session for the incident, Max apologized to the pilot of the McLaren still on the track and expressed relief that nothing bad had happened.

“I was too slow on the track. I wanted to accelerate, but my tires were too cold,” she explained. “Then I gave a hard rev at the same time as Lando [Norris] wanted to pass me, and he had to dodge me a little. But luckily, nothing happened.”

Finally, Verstappen highlighted the uncertain scenario regarding the race climate, as the rain is one of the possibilities of Sunday in the Suzuka weather forecast. On both dry and wet tracks, however, the world leader showed confidence in holding on to first place until the end.

“It will be interesting, first of all, to see the weather conditions,” said Verstappen. “Some say it will be dry, others say it will be raining at some point during the race. I am pretty confident that we have a good car,” he concluded.

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