Lack of grip ruining Portimao experience for Verstappen

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Max Verstappen admits the lack of grip offered by the new tarmac is ruining the thrill of Portimao's rollercoaster layout.

The Dutchman will start third in the Portuguese Grand Prix, this after narrowly finishing behind both Mercedes' in qualifying on Saturday.

Unlike Mercedes, who used the medium tyres in Q2 and the last run in Q3, Verstappen opted to stay on the soft compound throughout the session.

But Max admitted whatever rubber he used, the lack of grip was still a problem.

“Already the whole weekend has been really tricky with getting the tyres to work,” Verstappen said.

“Besides the tyres, the tarmac is slippery. [There is] just one line you can take.

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“Overall, still good of course to be third, but 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.

“I was here in January and I thought it was going to be amazing to drive a Formula 1 car, the grip we have.

“For me personally, you can’t push. You’re just driving on ice. It’s a bit of a shame.”

Given the lack of consistency in performance, Verstappen also admitted it was tough to assess the relative pace of Red Bull and Mercedes.

“Again we were very close, [it’s] just difficult to really judge again the performance because of the tyres and the grip," he added.

“I think we have to go to a track again where we have driven before, like the last few years, and see where we are because we have a bit more knowledge there.

“These kind of events are sometimes hit and miss. Sometimes you can do them better than others.

“But still, to be P3 and be quite close to them is a good achievement I think.”