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Max Verstappen

Verstappen explains career-worst sprint qualifying misery

Max Verstappen explained his relatively lowly qualifying position for the Chinese Grand Prix Sprint, stating he was struggling to get his tyres up to temperature on an "incredibly slippery" track surface.

Verstappen sprint China
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To news overview © Red Bull Content Pool

Max Verstappen's run of consecutive pole positions ended with the sprint shootout at the Chinese Grand Prix, but he will have the chance to keep his grand prix qualifying streak alive for the weekend's main event.

The Dutchman has taken four grand prix poles from four to start the year, but had to settle for a second-row start for the sprint at the Shanghai International Circuit, where he will line up in fourth.

After that unpredictable session, which saw changing conditions and a final part contested on intermediate tyres, Verstappen said Red Bull's results were "quite deserved", with Sergio Perez setting the sixth-fastest time.

“Yeah, it was incredibly slippery," he replied when asked how he found the session.

“I struggled a lot to get the temperature in the tyres, so that's why it very difficult to keep the car on track. It never really switched on for me, so it was just like driving on ice.

"That's why I think it's quite deserved where we are in qualifying – it was just not really working for me in the wet, even though I think in the dry we look quite good, so I'm of course quite happy with that."

'Not ideal to start on the inside'

The three-time drivers' champion still believes there will be opportunities in the sprint race, even if he is on the less-favourable side of the grid.

“Yeah, for sure. I mean, it's not ideal to start on the inside here. And there's a lot lower grip, left to right, with this, like painted stuff on the tarmac," he contended, when it was put to him that he would have the chance to make amends for his sprint shootout result in tomorrow's race.

“So we have to try and have the best start possible – I think it's going to be quite a long stint on one set of tyres in the sprint, but that makes it quite interesting."

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