Max Verstappen explained the “terrible” moment that cost him pole position at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix when he crashed into the wall on the last lap of qualifying in another dramatic moment in the title race. F1.
With Lewis Hamilton on provisional pole for the penultimate race of the season, Verstappen was faster than his title rival on the last corner of the Jeddah Corniche circuit.
Verstappen was pushing hard on what was a magnificent lap for the Red Bull driver, but he blocked before the last corner and collided with the wall.
This meant the Dutchman was unable to improve his qualifying time so he will start behind title rivals Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas after Mercedes locked the front row.
Verstappen is eight points ahead of Hamilton heading into tomorrow’s race, but the 24-year-old could suffer another blow if Red Bull are forced to replace their gearbox following the Q3 crash.
“It is of course terrible,” said Verstappen. “I knew the pace was there and it showed on the last lap.
“I don’t understand what happened but I locked up. I tried to keep the car on the track to complete the lap, and cut the rear – so I had to stop.
“The P3 is a bit disappointing knowing what lap I was on, but it shows that the car is fast. Let’s see what we can do in the race.
When asked if he was concerned about the damage to his car in the crash, Verstappen replied, “I don’t know. I stopped immediately, we’ll see.
Red Bull boss Christian Horner told Sky Sports: “Max was on track for the round of the season. It is a great shame.
“He just grabbed the front in the last corner. You could see on his scoreboard that he was in four tenths [on Hamilton] goes around the corner and unfortunately he runs out of road. It’s pretty brutal but let’s hope the gearbox isn’t damaged.
“Max will be frustrated. He knows how good a ride it was. He just needs to put this behind him now. He is still P3 on the grid. He needs a good start and anything can happen in this race.
“It’s such a shame because it was a mighty, mighty ride. We’ll get the car back and I hope it’s not a gearbox penalty because it would be particularly brutal.