MAY 14, 2016
Another first for Verstappen
By Dan Knutson in Barcelona
"First time with a microphone," Max Verstappen said when he sat down to talk with the media after his sensational qualifying where he put his Red Bull fourth on the grid for the Spanish Grand Prix.
The teams regularly host press briefings in their hospitality units in the paddock with their drivers. When he was at Toro Rosso, Verstappen would sit at a round table and talk with maybe half a dozen journalists. But now he has been promoted to Red Bull, and after qualifying fourth he arrived at Red Bull's Energy Station to find about 30 journalists waiting to hear what he had to say. And that required a speaker and a microphone.
Did Verstappen expect to be as super quick as he was in qualifying?
"No," he replied. "To be honest I didn't know what to expect. It was very positive, that is for sure."
Verstappen went quicker than his teammate Daniel Ricciardo in the first two segments of qualifying but lost out to him in the final segment. Was he disappointed that Ricciardo beat him in the end?
"No, absolutely not," Verstappen stated. "I was very pleased with my first qualifying. I was enjoying it a lot. I think we both pushed each other and that is very good for the team."
Well, did he think he was going to beat Ricciardo?
"I never thought about that because for me qualifying was just about enjoying it and getting a feeling of the car," Verstappen said. "For me it worked fine. At the moment it is not about a perfect lap. I was just happy with the progress I was making every time. I was feeling much better in the car every lap. For more that is the most positive thing."
It certainly did work fine for Verstappen in qualifying. Now what about the race on Sunday? Is he aiming at the podium?
"No, I never start dreaming," he said. "I just focus a lot and tomorrow is all about a clean start and a clean first lap and from there on hopefully we have a good pace."
Whatever happens in the race, it will almost certainly be another first for Verstappen.