Championship leader Max Verstappen says he’s ready to ‘finish off’ what he started in Azerbaijan after sealing pole position for the French Grand Prix. Verstappen sent Lewis Hamilton a clear warning sign ahead of the race after taking his second pole position of the season around Paul Ricard, a first ever in France for Red Bull.
The Dutchman secured his fifth career pole position after setting a 1:29.990s lap, going 0.258s faster than Hamilton in second place with Valtteri Bottas starting third in the other Mercedes.
And the Dutchman, who was on course to win in Baku last time out before a tyre blowout a few laps before the end of the race, insists he’s keen to finish off the job in Sunday’s race.
“I mean so far it’s been a really positive weekend on a track where normally it’s been a bit difficult for us,” said Verstappen.
“Yesterday FP2 was a bit of a turnaround and we just made it even better today. Of course, to get pole position was really nice.
“No points are scored today [in qualifying] but for us it’s a great day.
“Of course we have to finish it off tomorrow and try and get the 25 points that we lost in Baku. It’s a great performance from our side and I hope that we can keep it up.”
Verstappen, who leads the championship to Hamilton by four points, took the lead of the standings with victory in Monte Carlo earlier in the month.
And the 23-year-old said he was keen to show what he can do around a ‘normal’ circuit, rather than a street circuit.
He added: “I am actually [confident]. The car felt good yesterday in FP2 so I’m looking forward to it.”
Mercedes struggled coming into the weekend after scoring just seven points across the past two races, with Bottas not scoring a point since Spain in May.
Verstappen’s team-mate starts fourth on the grid, with Carlos Sainz rounding up the top five in the Ferrari.
Coming into the weekend, Hamilton said he was keen to silence any critics, admitting he feels ‘no pressure’ from Verstappen heading into the French Grand Prix.
Last time out, Hamilton made a rare mistake after the race had been red-flagged due to a tyre blowout from Verstappen, squandering the chance to retake the championship lead.
“Max wasn’t in the race at the time so I definitely wasn’t under pressure from him,” said Hamilton.
“I don’t even count it as a mistake and I don’t even know what the mistake before that was, but I don’t feel any pressure, I feel pretty relaxed. You can’t always be perfect.
“A mistake is when you often drive off the track after missing your braking point or a hit the wall, but it as an unforced error.
“It was something we had that was sitting there that could’ve happened at any point, and it, unfortunately, bit us pretty hard.”
This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Sport Feed