Singapore Grand Prix: Verstappen mad at his own team Sports | DW

 Singapore Grand Prix: Verstappen mad at his own team  Sports |  DW

Max Verstappen didn’t want to believe it. The Red Bull was finally running as it should, the world champion hit the corners in Singapore, the road to pole position seemed clear – but an embarrassing mistake in the command post ruined everything. On the last fast lap, on course for the best time, the Dutchman was called back to the pits. And so the pole position went to Charles Leclerc. “What the hell?!” Verstappen yelled into the radio, “why?! Unbelievable guys!”

Red Bull later explained that there was simply not enough fuel in the tank – and so from eighth place on the grid, Verstappen’s way to an early title win in the night race on Sunday is even further than it already was. “It’s incredibly frustrating and shouldn’t happen,” said Verstappen: “It’s unacceptable. You fill the car for five laps and want to drive six laps, the logic doesn’t fit.” He now has to “go to the hotel and switch off,” said Verstappen and quickly left the track.

Leclerc at the front

So Ferrari driver Leclerc clinched his ninth pole of the season, on a drying track he relegated Verstappen’s teammate Sergio Perez and record world champion Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes to second and third place. In order to be world champion for the second time five races before the end, Verstappen would first have to win. At the same time, Perez should not get past fourth place, Leclerc not eighth.

Victory alone is already difficult to achieve. Verstappen has won several times in recent months after starting from further back. On the street circuit in Southeast Asia, however, such a race to catch up is much more complicated than on ordinary racetracks. Mick Schumacher will start from 13th place on his first appearance in Singapore. The Haas driver improved from session to session on the track that was still unknown to him, but was ultimately still behind his team-mate: Kevin Magnussen was ninth.

However, Schumacher ended up ahead of Sebastian Vettel. The record winner from Singapore only finished 14th in the Aston Martin at his last appearance in the city-state. He has won here five times and will end his Formula 1 career at the end of the year.

Problems at Red Bull

Red Bull’s problems didn’t just start on Saturday during this potentially crucial weekend. The team spent a lot of time tinkering with the setup on Friday, so Verstappen had significantly less training time than the competition. On Saturday, continuous rain in Singapore made for completely different conditions than before. Verstappen gained momentum in qualifying and ultimately would have taken pole position.

However, the team broke off his penultimate fast lap at short notice because Verstappen threatened to run into other cars. Another attempt was made, but Red Bull didn’t have enough fuel in the tank for this tactic: after qualifying, the law enforcers must be able to take a sufficiently large fuel sample, otherwise there is a penalty. So the team aborted this last attempt as well.

dvo (SID)


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