Championship chief Verstappen was tipped to be the pace-setter at Interlagos after taking back-to-back wins in america and Mexico, with Hamilton saying the fight against Red Bull would be “as steep as it can be”.
However Mercedes then turned the tables on Purple Bull in Friday’s qualifying session to set the grid for the dash race as Hamilton topped all three sessions, beating Verstappen by four-tenths of a second in Q3.
Talking in parc ferme after qualifying, Verstappen felt it was not a shock that he had misplaced out to Hamilton after Mercedes’ engine change.
“After they take a brand new engine, truly they’ve a bit extra energy for a weekend, so for me it is not an enormous shock,” Verstappen mentioned.
“I am simply comfortable to be second. That is a superb place to start out from.
“In fact you at all times wish to be nearer, however generally you simply must be practical, and there was not far more in it.”
Max Verstappen, Purple Bull Racing RB16B
Picture by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images
Verstappen rued a mistake on the penultimate nook on his closing Q3 lap, however had been trailing Hamilton by three-tenths of a second on the second sector break up earlier than an eventual hole of 0.438 seconds.
Hamilton is not going to take his five-place grid penalty till Sunday’s race, that means he’ll begin the 24-lap dash race from the entrance of the grid, with three factors on provide to the winner.
Requested if he was specializing in harm limitation in opposition to Hamilton on Saturday forward of the penalty being utilized, Verstappen replied: “I imply there usually are not that many factors in fact to achieve within the dash race.
“So I hope in fact to have a superb first lap and see from there.
“Then in fact, an important one is on Sunday.”
Verstappen believed his Purple Bull F1 automobile would “be fully completely different” in race trim on Sunday as “it’s going to be loads hotter” after overcast and funky circumstances for qualifying.
“That can change the behaviour of the automobile as effectively, so we’ll see,” Verstappen mentioned.