AUSTIN -- Max Verstappen was left angry with himself after two mistakes in qualifying for the U.S. Grand Prix saw him fail to extract the full potential from his Red Bull.
After an engine change ahead of qualifying, Verstappen had a 15-place grid penalty hanging over him regardless of where he qualified, but he believed his car had the potential to set the second fastest time in qualifying. Two mistakes in Turns 8 and 15 saw him set the sixth fastest time, 0.311s off Sebastian Vettel in second and just 0.090s off Valtteri Bottas in third.
"I was very angry with myself after qualifying," he said. "It's one of the first times this year that I have been really angry with myself after qualifying and that's not nice.
"But it's less painful when you know you had to start at the back, but it's still not great. I was really surprised. Everything was going well but in Turns 7, 8 and 9 I was faster in Q1 than in Q3. So that's not what you want.
"I was surprised because the whole year qualifying has been really good. Today everything was looking really good again, but when you make two crucial mistakes in such corners you can't do a good lap time. But I was still surprised that I was that close to P3.
"Afterwards, looking at it, more than P3 was possible. I think I could have been mixing it with Sebastian for P2, which is really positive because taking into consideration what we lose on the straights, I think it's a very good sign again that the car is fast."
Verstappen will start the race from 17th on the grid using super-soft tyres, after he opted to use that compound in Q2. He is confident he will have the pace to move through the field and is aiming for a top six finish at the least.
"I guess we will always have an advantage over the cars [directly] ahead of me on the grid, even with a harder compound. How it's going to be, I don't know, but at least we have a different strategy to some other cars. "I'm sure we can have a good race and many times I have had a really good Saturday and a bad Sunday, so hopefully after a bad Saturday I can have a good Sunday."