The Dutchman set a track record during qualifying but ultimately the pace of Mercedes proved too much as Lewis Hamilton claimed pole on his final lap of Q3. Verstappen meanwhile was left to rue what could’ve been as he qualified third, the position he had been expected to take all weekend.
Despite the qualifying session going as expected in terms of who would man the front three positions, Helmut Marko believes Verstappen’s former teammate was responsible for him failing to break the Mercedes shut out.
"Max was trapped behind Daniel Ricciardo in his out-lap and was therefore unable to drive fast enough and get temperature in his tires,” Marko told ORF.
“As a result, he lost three tenths in the first sector.
“We expected a place in the front row to be possible, we could have equalled the time of Valtteri Bottas.
“Overtaking is impossible here unless something crazy happens, however, the Mercedes can block everything.