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Max Verstappen

Verstappen accepts pole defeat but delivers Norris warning

Max Verstappen was staggeringly denied pole position by Lando Norris.

Verstappen Norris Qualifying Spain
To news overview © XPBimages

Max Verstappen has accepted being beaten to pole position for the Spanish Grand Prix, but has warned polesitter Lando Norris it is "all to play for" on Sunday.

Verstappen topped Q2 and looked like the slight favourite going into the final part of qualifying, at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. 

The odds increased in his favour after the first hot laps in Q3, as the Dutchman sat on provisional pole. 

To the disbelief of many, the reigning world champion found almost three tenths on his final lap in qualifying, which seemed to be enough for pole. 

However, Norris set a stunning middle and final sector to deny Verstappen pole position, by just 0.020s. Not even a tow from Sergio Perez was enough to stop the McLaren driver, although the Dutch star knows he is in the fight for the win on Sunday.

"I think in qualifying, it was all coming together a bit nicer," said Verstappen. 

"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 with qualifying, even in Q3 I got a nice little tow from  Checo to turn one, to really extract everything we could.

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

Close fight 'great' for F1

With Verstappen having now gone three races without claiming pole, it appears certain that Red Bull's advantage is, perhaps, over. 

The three-time world champion in the past became used to claiming pole position by several tenths of a second, with it having been put to him whether he misses securing "easy poles".

"At the end of the day, they're never really easy poles, because you're always in a battle with yourself," explained Verstappen. 

"But, of course, now it's more teams, and I think that is good for Formula 1 in general. 

"Of course, when it's always that close for pole position, I think that's great anyways."

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