Max Verstappen has said a lack of confidence and stability in his Red Bull car were behind his early exit from a “messy and hectic” qualifying session for the Singapore GP.
Verstappen qualified 11th during the session after being knocked out of Q2 by the AlphaTauri of Liam Lawson, with his teammate Sergio Perez back in 13th after suffering a spin on his final flying lap.
Both drivers have complained throughout the weekend so far about the car being unpredictable and lacking grip, and despite the team attempting tweaks to their setup, they were unable to get the issue in hand during qualifying and face a tough race.
Speaking to media after the session, Verstappen said that he struggled across the lap and was unable to drive the car at the pace needed to challenge Ferrari and Mercedes at the top of the timing charts.
“I think actually, this morning, FP3 was better. We made some good progress. It was, of course, still not where we want it to be. But it was looking like something,” he said.
“But then we made a few more changes, which we thought the car would allow. But then we got into qualifying. And the first big problem I had was that I couldn’t break late and hard because I would put them out and it would unload the front tires.
“And on a street circuit, that is something which is very crucial to be confident on the brakes and attack the corners. So I couldn’t do that. And besides that, also just the low speed corners, where I think we have been struggling already the whole weekend.
“I just had no real support. So I just kept on having mini slides, or my final lap a big one at Turn 3. When it’s like that, you know, there is no lap time.”
Tough race ahead
The Dutchman’s weekend could yet take a further turn for the worse, as he is under investigation for impeding the Williams of Logan Sargeant during Q1 and for stopping at the end of the pitlane under a green light at the start of Q2.
“I didn’t see him because I was on the radio talking about what was the problem. And then I didn’t get a call up until it was basically behind me,” Verstappen said.
“It basically sums up my qualifying, which is super hectic and messy instead of really brilliant. I mean, I knew that there was a day that you’re not winning anymore. But…we had a really good run anyway, up until now.
“I would always take a season like where we are winning this much and having one really bad weekend over the other way around where you’re not fighting for the championship, and then you’re winning here.
“But I think it’s more important that we just understand what we did wrong this weekend. Because I’m confident that next week we’re going to Suzuka and the car is faster…it already felt like that also on the simulator that this was a difficult setup window for the car where then we went to Suzuka and it just felt amazing again like most of the races.”