Max Verstappen says driving at Portimao isn’t living up to his expectations as it’s like “driving on ice” due to the smooth track surface and hard tyre compounds nominated by Pirelli for this weekend's Portuguese F1 Grand Prix.

Verstappen qualified third behind the two Mercedes once again and was within two-tenths of Lewis Hamilton’s pole position benchmark.

Portimao’s smooth track surface and Pirelli’s decision to bring its hardest three tyre compounds to this weekend’s race meaning getting the tyres into the working window has been tricky for teams.

 

 

Reflecting on qualifying itself, Verstappen said: “For us, it was very straightforward, we just committed to softs for the whole of qualifying. But I think already the whole weekend has been really tricky with getting the tyres to work, and besides that, I think it’s not only tyres, the tarmac is very slippery and there’s just one line you can take.

“Overall it’s still good to be third but it was a bit confusing throughout qualifying. I did my fastest lap time in Q1, and after that I couldn’t replicate it just because I didn’t have the same grip. Of course, the time runs down in Q2 and Q3, you have even less time to do your laps and it just seemed like it was a bit more difficult for us to get the tyres in a better window, even though I think in Q3 compared to Q2 it felt a bit better on the very first timed lap.”

Having driven the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve back in January, Verstappen had high expectations driving 2020 F1 machinery around it.

The Dutchman admits it hasn’t lived up to expectations due to how the tyres are behaving this weekend.

“For me personally not very enjoyable to drive at the moment with the tyres and grip on the track,” Verstappen added. “I was here in January and I thought it was going to be amazing to drive a Formula 1 car.

“The scenery, everything is perfect, but the grip we have, for me personally you can’t really push, you’re just driving on ice. So it’s a bit of a shame.”