Max Verstappen reveals that Red Bull told him to ignore the worsening conditions on the lap that secured him pole position for Sunday’s Sao Paulo Grand Prix.

The deluge that had been threatening to intervene throughout Friday’s qualifying hour at Interlagos finally arrived in dramatic style midway through the final Q3 segment.

Amid a scramble for track position, Verstappen managed to overtake George Russell to end up fourth on the road, behind Lewis Hamilton and the Aston Martin duo.

Unlike the two Mercedes drivers, the Dutchman utilised pushing on his out-lap to register a lap time that ensured he prevailed by 0.294s over Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.

However, Verstappen admits his team encouraged him to complete the lap after he reported concerns that the increased wind intensity had impacted his car balance.

“Yeah, the gaps were very, very small between everyone,” he began. “So yeah, through Q1, Q2, you could see that everyone was using a lot of tyre sets and that made it quite interesting, I think.

“And then, of course, we lined up to go out for Q3 and you could see the sky was just black. And I was like, wow, if that rain hits it’s going to be a lot.

“So the out lap was quite quick and then we went for the lap, the first sector felt alright, and then the rest of the lap felt shocking. So I think what happened, of course, throughout the lap was that the rain was coming in, it was not hitting the track yet, but the wind increased a lot. And it changed direction with a tailwind in the middle sector.

“And yeah, the car was just sliding all over the place. I was shouting on the radio, like, ‘what the hell happened?’ Like, you know, we are nowhere. But the team just told me to keep pushing because they said everyone was struggling out there.

“But I’ve never experienced something like that, that it’s such a big influence on car balance. But you could also see the weather incoming was quite extreme.”

Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing celebrates with the Pirelli Pole Position Award in parc ferme. 03.11.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 21, Brazilian Grand Prix, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Qualifying Day.

Verstappen had complained throughout the first two stages that his RB19 had been bouncing around, leaving him only third on the timesheets come the conclusion of Q2.

“Yeah, it was a bit difficult over the bumps,” he noted. “I don’t know why that was the case, because we didn’t really touch the car.

“And so we need to understand that because, yeah, on the bumps it was not very comfortable. But yeah, we tried to work our way around it.”

Although he asserts Red Bull remained in competitive shape, the three-time World Champion could not guarantee he would have seized pole if Q3 had remained dry.

“The gaps were just very, very close. I think we were quite competitive,” he addressed.

“I think no one really knew who was going to be first in Q3 If it would have been a normal session without the weather incoming. But then that makes it quite interesting for Sunday as well, to see how everything will evolve with the long-run pace.”

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