Max Verstappen delivered an ominous message to his rivals after taking pole position for Saturday’s F1 Sprint in Austria, claiming that his RB18 will be even faster in race conditions.
The Dutchman edged out the Ferrari duo of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz by less than 0.1s to line up first for tomorrow's event, and issued a measured response to his achievement.
"I am quite happy with pole but also tomorrow and Sunday you can get the points," said Verstappen.
"I think we have a great car. Normally qualifying is not our strongest point so I just hope to have a clean Turn 1, a good getaway.
"From there, anything can happen, but I am confident in the car we have."
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Red flags made things difficult
The final part of qualifying was halted twice as the Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton and George Russell both slid into the barriers, and Verstappen noted that the stop-start nature of the session had presented a challenge.
"It was a very long wait of course between the two runs," added Verstappen.
"That is never great; once you are in the rhythm you want to keep going.
"Also the track temperature dropping, the wind changing a little bit, but in the end it was a very tight qualifying and it is a really challenging track to get everything right.
"There aren't many corners but the ones you have are quite tricky and easy to make a mistake."
Verstappen hails Orange Army
Verstappen was cheered to the echo throughout qualifying by a packed crowd, most of whom were wearing orange and roaring with approval at the Dutchman's achievement.
"It is incredible to see the crowd here and see so much orange and see the support I have got here for a few years," said Verstappen, who has won three of the last four Austrian Grands Prix.
"It puts a smile on my face and hopefully we can make it a great weekend."
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