Max previews Saturday at Sochi: 'Quieter than normal'

Published on 25 September 2021 by Stefan Meens

Following Friday practice of the Russian Grand Prix, Ziggo Sport’s Olav Mol caught up with Max Verstappen to discuss the opening day at the Sochi Autodrom.

Does this Sochi circuit have any exciting parts? “Turn three is easily flat and there are a lot of 90 degree corners that you just have to make the most of. Thus far it’s been better to drive here than previous years.”

Is the track more bumpy? “Yes, from start/finish to turn two, but if you brake to the side of it, it’s a bit better and in the corners it’s not too bad.”

In FP1 you did short runs and there appeared to be an issue with the power-unit’s charge mode? “We had already planned to do the engine swap, so you then allocate your tyres differently.”

Did the weather forecast influence the power-unit decision? “Yes, but also the track. Compared to some of the upcoming tracks, you can overtake here and the tyre wear is lower, so we opted to do it here.”

You are not going to do the whole qualifying session? “You don’t want to be in Q3 because then you can’t chose the tyre for the start of the race, which is what we want to do, of course.”

So it will be a quiet Saturday? “Quieter than normal.”

How do you approach the first phase of a circuit, do you push the first lap in sector one, than the next lap sector two, and a lap later sector three? Max: “In your first lap you’re obviously not on the limit, so you just have to feel your way through the lap and judge how late you can brake. Sometimes you brake a bit too early, other corners you’re near the limit. As you complete more and more laps, you go through FP1, FP2 and FP3 trying to fine tune the balance of the car so you can string it all together in Q3.

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