This yr’s two title rivals are beginning on the entrance row for Sunday’s US Grand Prix – the primary time they’ve lined up alongside one another on the head of the pack because the Zandvoort race in early September and three occasions on from their Monza crash.
That was the second collision between the pair this season that precipitated no less than one among them to retire – the opposite well-known incident approaching the primary lap of the British GP at Silverstone in July – though in addition they had a minor conflict firstly at Imola and really almost additionally did so in Spain.
The potential for one other collision was put to the pair within the post-qualifying press convention at Austin, shortly after Verstappen had claimed his first pole because the Italian GP (which he inherited there because of Valtteri Bottas grid penalty) by beating Hamilton to the highest spot in Q3 by 0.209s.
“I hope we’ll make it by means of Flip 1 and we get a superb race,” Hamilton mentioned. “[But] I don’t suppose it’s all selected Flip 1.”
Verstappen mentioned he and Hamilton can be driving “like we all the time attempt, as professionals”, earlier than once more lamenting being requested about their clashes – as he did, reasonably extra explosively, within the pre-event press convention at Sochi after the Monza crash.
“I don’t see why we all the time need to preserve bringing this up,” mentioned Verstappen. “It’s not like we’re the one ones who’ve touched, .
“On this sport, these items occur, sadly.
“However we’re on the entrance row once more and everyone seems to be simply anticipating a terrific race and that’s what we additionally anticipate, I believe, as drivers. We simply wish to have a very good race.”
The automobiles of prime three Qualifiers Max Verstappen, Pink Bull Racing RB16B, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12, and Sergio Perez, Pink Bull Racing RB16B, on the grid
Photograph by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images
After Mercedes continued its robust type from Russia and Turkey in FP1 at Austin on Friday, Pink Bull as progressed impressively since then – main the way in which in FP2 and FP3 (albeit helped by Hamilton having faster instances deleted in each classes) and Verstappen then topping Q2 and Q3.
Verstappen additionally led the way in which on long term tempo late in FP2, with a mean laptime on the medium tyres – which all of the frontrunners will use for the primary stint of the grand prix – higher by 0.301s over Bottas, who accomplished a comparable comparable stint size for Mercedes.
When requested how he felt about his race tempo potential, Verstappen mentioned: “I had a little bit of visitors as properly on my lengthy runs, however all the things felt fairly regular.
“I do suppose we additionally improved the automobile slightly bit [on Saturday] so hopefully that shall be higher for [Sunday]. I assume we are going to discover out, however there have been no massive issues.
“It’s primarily simply tyre put on and tyre deg, which I believe we have now to have a look at a bit extra carefully.
“Additionally once more, we have now slightly bit of data but in addition we’ll discover out all through the race how they’re holding up.”