Max Verstappen qualified on top for the Bahrain Grand Prix, ahead of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas. The Dutchman now says he knew “there was more” potential after his first Q3 run.

“Basically my first lap in Q3 wasn’t amazing, so I knew there was more in it,” he said.

Verstappen topped all three practice sessions, and by his first run in Q3 he was already 0.023s quicker than Hamilton, but he says he knew there was more time advantage in the car.

“You never know how much,” he said. “But finally the balance was there, and then you can push a little more.

“The track is quite hot, so you have to be careful with not overheating the rear tires. Luckily when we managed, we could perform.”

Verstappen’s pole lap time is 1:28.997, set on his final Q3 run.

The Dutchman had damaged his car in Q1 as he ran along the curb at turn two.

“He smacked the bottom of the car pretty hard, because they run so low we’ve lost a couple of bits of carbon under the front of the car there,” Christian Horner, Red Bull team principal, told Sky.

“Maybe he’s carrying about a tenth’s-worth of damage through the rest of the sessions. So you think in the first one through Q1 where it’s not that impressive, you think ‘oh no.’

“But he’s handled that incredibly well.”

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