Max Verstappen says he took a cautious approach to his pole lap for the F1 Sprint, as he narrowly secured the fastest lap of the session.

The outing began in wet conditions, but the drivers took the final segment on the Soft compound as the track dried up.

However, in SQ2, Lance Stroll hit the wall after he opted to be the first to take to the track on slick tyres.

Verstappen was the last driver to take the chequered flag and jumped to the top of the timesheet, pipping McLaren’s Oscar Piastri by just 0.011s.

“It was quite difficult, a bit similar to yesterday’s [session],” Verstappen said. 

“Now it was just a bit later into qualifying that you could go into the slick tyres, but we stayed calm. 

“The gap was not as big as yesterday’s but there was also no need to risk it all. Probably, maybe, in the second sector I was a little bit careful. Still on pole, that’s what counts.

“It was getting better and better but, still Turns 8 and 9 were quite slippery, so I guess I left a little bit of time on the table there, but it’s OK. 

“Let’s see, again, in the afternoon, if it’s going to rain again but it’s good to have a clean end to qualifying.”

Although Verstappen has secured pole for the Sprint, the Dutchman will take Sunday’s start from sixth on the grid due to a penalty for exceeding his gearbox quota.

When asked what his mindset is ahead of Saturday’s race, Verstappen said: “Try to make a good start and then we get clear vision, as well. I think that’s going to be very important if it’s wet.”

Verstappen’s team-mate Sergio Perez was eighth fastest in SQ3.

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