Red Bull Formula 1 driver Max Verstappen saw a very likely pole position slip away in Saudi Arabia on Saturday after a tiny mistake in his final attempt on the fast, narrow Jeddah track – The result of which caused damaged to the Red Bull, Helmut Marko explains.
Verstappen had just set the record in the first two sectors at the end of the qualifying session, but the Dutchman eventually had to cut his effort short after hitting the wall in the final sector, allowing rival Lewis Hamilton to retain pole position on the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix grid.
“We have to take it apart and look at it.” explains Marko to Servus TV,
“We saw it with [Charles] Leclerc in Monte Carlo. He had a similar impact. [Ferrari] decided not to change and then bang, on the warm-up lap the consequences became clear.”
After the session, Max Verstappen could not hide his disappointment, but the Red Bull driver is still optimistic for Sunday’s race after seeing that his car has the pace to fight for a win.
“I don’t really understand what happened. I locked a wheel, but I still tried to keep the car on the track, tried to finish the lap, but then I clipped the rear and had to stop,” explained Verstappen.
“Being P3 is a bit disappointing knowing the pace I was on. But nevertheless, it shows that the car is fast and we’ll see what we can do in the race.”
Marko concurs saying that “we are so fast that we don’t take any risks. If the gearbox has damage or glimpses of that, we will change it. It’s difficult to overtake here, but still.”
Asked if he thought he had suffered significant damage in the crash, Verstappen said, “I don’t know, I stopped immediately, so we’ll see.”
Should he avoid having to replace the gearbox thus incurring a grid penalty, Max Verstappen will start the race from third place on Sunday, just behind the two Mercedes.
Evidence Max is planning to crash into Lewis in Abu Dhabi?
1996 Formula One World Champion Damon Hill is hoping that the FIA will take the lead before the final round of the season and let teams know what penalties will be incurred if the championship is decided on a collision as it has been in F1 in the past – Incidents like the 1990 Championship winning crash must be avoided.
In a past Sky F1 featurette from 2019, a group of drivers including Max Verstappen were shown a clip of the controversal incident involving Senna and Prost in Japan in 1990. Perhaps surprisingly, some, including Max, actually supported the blatent purposeful crash into Prost by Senna.
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