Max Verstappen was trying to look on the positive side after a power issue in Hungarian Grand Prix qualifying saw him fall away from the fight from pole and end up 10th – his worst Saturday performance of the season.
Red Bull were off the pace of favourites Ferrari on Friday, but cooler conditions coupled with gains found overnight hauled Verstappen into the fight for pole, only for the Dutchman to be left fuming when a series of attempts to fix an issue during Q3 failed.
“We made some changes which were very positive, so a lot of guys here and back at the factory were analysing a lot of stuff, and I think they understood and that’s of course very promising and very good,” he said.
“The car was a lot nicer to driver today but we couldn’t really show it in Q3 because of the power issue. I still don’t know what it is. I need to talk to the team, but I hope everything is fixable.”
Sergio Pérez hunting for ‘strong points finish’ after shock Q2 exit in Hungary
That pace improvement coupled with similar dry conditions expected on Sunday leaves Verstappen, who had not qualified outside the top four this season before arriving in Hungary, optimistic he can limit the damage.
“I know this track is very hard to pass at, so we have to be patient as well,” added Verstappen, who will start 10th, with Mercedes’ George Russell taking a shock pole ahead of Ferrari duo Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc. “This year has shown that a lot of things can happen even on Sunday, so we just have to be patient.”
His team mate Sergio Perez had a similarly frustrating afternoon, the Mexican failing to reach Q3 for the seventh time in nine visits to the Budapest track.
“It was very unfortunate with the track limits and then I got it back,” said Perez, referring to his Q2 time being deleted before being reinstated shortly after. “And then going into Turn 2, I found Kevin [Magnussen] right on the line. I had to avoid him and went very deep in corner, lost a couple of tenths, which I couldn’t recover later on.”
Perez will start 11th, one place behind his team mate Verstappen, who at least has a comfortable 63-point championship lead.