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Verstappen reveals key difference that would've sealed pole at COTA

The Red Bull driver was just nine hundredths of a second off Carlos Sainz in qualifying at the Circuit of the Americas.

Max Verstappen has revealed a key difference that would've earned him pole, in what was a close finish to qualifying for the United States Grand Prix. The Red Bull driver's lap was 0.092s off the best time from Carlos Sainz, with Verstappen mainly losing time towards the end of the fastest attempt when he appeared to have a snap of oversteer at the penultimate corner. Along with the tricky windy conditions at the Circuit of the Americas, Verstappen explained that getting the tyres up to temperature was difficult for the drivers at the high speed circuit. "It was alright. It was very tricky today with the wind out there, especially in the first sector in the high-speed corners, when you have the tailwind on this track it makes it really tricky," he told media. "Also getting the tyres in the right window wasn't the easiest. So, we tried a few different things. "In my first lap in Q3, I lost like three-tenths in the first corner, just hitting a few bumps and losing the rear. It was just really tricky out there. Then the second run was good in sector one and sector two [where] we look very strong. "I ran out of tyres a little bit in the last sector with big oversteer in the second-to-last corner. But all in all, we're still very close to pole."

Red Bull tried different tyre strategies for Q3

Verstappen explains that Red Bull put him on a different tyre strategy in Q3, with his first lap for provisional pole in Q3 set on scrubbed tyres that were from Q2. He said: "The first one, it’s just different strategies we tried. So they were scrubbed from that out-in I did in Q2. So, it was just something to try. And it clearly didn't work out in Turn 1. "For sure the bumps around here [are bad]. It’s not like normal bumps you get on a track just by running and the cars grinding. "Here, the earth, of course, is moving a lot more and it makes it quite difficult in some places to drive in general. So probably that also makes Turn 1 quite a bit harder again, this year." With Charles Leclerc taking a 10-place grid penalty for changing power unit components, Verstappen will still start the race on the front row alongside Sainz.

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