Verstappen power unit problem not serious as F1 championship leader stays calm about 10th-place start

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Max Verstappen felt he had the pace to at least qualify in the top three for the Hungarian Grand Prix and said an engine problem with his Red Bull was not serious.

Verstappen's team-mate Sergio Perez failed to make it out of Q2, qualifying 11th, and the championship leader will start 10th after a power unit issue on his out lap ahead of a second flying effort ended hopes of pole.

The Dutchman had looked ominously fast in Q2, having been behind the Ferraris in both of Friday's practice sessions.

However, he now has a recovery mission if he is to avoid nearest challenger Charles Leclerc eating heavily into his 63-point lead at the top of the drivers' championship at a Hungaroring circuit where it is notoriously difficult to overtake.

Leclerc will start third behind team-mate Carlos Sainz, who had appeared destined for pole until Mercedes' George Russell snatched it with a remarkable lap.

But Verstappen, having turned the air blue as he lost power, was composed when asked about his car's issues and the task ahead of him on Sunday.

He told Sky Sports: "I don't think it's a big issue but something we couldn't solve on track. It's very unfortunate.

"The turnaround from yesterday was amazing. There was a lot of analysing going to understand what was not really working that well yesterday.

"In a way, that's positive about today, we understood what went wrong and the car was so much better today in terms of handling on a track that doesn't really suit us.

"So that's a big positive for the rest of the year anyway that we can, even on a track where we're not that strong, be competitive, but of course I would have liked to start in the top three, and I definitely think we had the pace for it because even in Q2 we looked very strong.

"So yeah, good turnaround but unfortunately the little glitch we had makes us start 10th."

Asked about his prospects for the race and the choice between a one or two-stop strategy, Verstappen added: "It can be a tough one if you're stuck, I hope of course not too long. We have to just stay calm and wait for our moments to go forward.

"It [the strategy] depends also a bit on what is happening in front of you, behind you as well, so we just need to be on it and be flexible."

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