Formula One

Verstappen on Q2 elimination in Singapore: “A pretty shocking experience”

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Photo by XPB / Icon Sport

Red Bull endured a miserable qualifying session in Singapore, as Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez could only manage eleventh and thirteenth.

How Red Bull failed to make Q3

The team’s struggles to come to grips with the Marina Bay Street Circuit were clear to see from yesterday’s practice sessions. The car was struggling with the balance of the RB19, especially because of an unstable rear end.

Although both drivers emphasised the need for a solution to be found ahead of Saturday, the situation did not get any better in the third free practice session. Verstappen aired his frustration via team radio, as he complained about the gear shifts being rough and causing issues with the handling of the car, while Perez was unhappy too.

Verstappen’s qualifying did not get to a good start either, as he was found to be impeding other drivers on a few occasions, including one where he parked his car on the exit of the pitlane. Three such occasions will be investigated by the stewards in the coming hours.

In Q2, the first timed efforts of Verstappen and Perez found them down in tenth and eleventh, a huge surprise even in the midst of a difficult weekend for the team. On his last effort, Perez spun at Turn 3 and lost all hope of getting into the top ten, while Verstappen was still struggling with understeer. His effort initially was good enough for tenth, but he was then knocked out by Liam Lawson.

The reigning World Champion -who entered the race on a ten-race winning streak- was disappointed, to say the least, after his elimination and he voiced his feelings on team radio:

I don’t know if you saw that, but that was shocking. Absolutely shocking experience.

Verstappen on Q2 elimination and his chances for the race

After his Q2 exit, Max Verstappen spoke to Lawrence Barretto and F1TV about what his issues were and what mistakes Red Bull made in the setup.:

I mean, in FP3 I think it was a little bit better. We were heading in the right direction actually. But then we changed a few more things, thinking that we could do it in the setup, it would allow us, but it ended up being too aggressive. I was just sliding around a lot in every corner.

I lost a lot of front grip as well, every time in the braking zones I was bottoming out, so that was then unloading the front tyres. So then I couldn’t really hit the brakes like I wanted to. I basically had to do a really gentle approach, otherwise the car would go down too much. That doesn’t work on a street circuit. So yeah, that was really really difficult.

The Dutchman also commented on his expectations about tomorrow’s Grand Prix:

I don’t think we will be able to do much. Around here, it will most likely be an one-stop strategy, if nothing crazy happens. For passing, you need to be a lot faster and I don’t think we are. So, a pretty shocking experience, yeah.

With overtaking difficult around the street circuit and, as Verstappen elaborated on, an one-stop strategy, things will be tough for him. Whether he picks up any penalties for impeding remains to be seen and the possibility of Red Bull electing to change his engine is also in the air.

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