Formula 1 world champion Max Verstappen had a shocking experience in qualifying for the night race in Singapore. The Dutchman failed to make the final qualifying class on Saturday in eleventh place, and his Red Bull teammate Sergio Pérez also missed out, finishing 13th. Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz took pole position ahead of George Russell in the Mercedes. Red Bull has won all 14 races so far this season, with Verstappen winning the last ten in a row.
“I don’t know what to say. “It’s shocking to experience this,” he told Pitts by radio. Verstappen had already complained about problems in the last free practice session on Friday and on Saturday. Twice The world champion, who has never won in Singapore, was seven thousandths of a second behind. Of all people, New Zealander Liam Lawson, who currently drives for AlphaTauri as a Red Bull replacement driver, Verstappen was dropped from tenth place. He also fears punishment.
A serious accident occurred in the first qualifying segment, causing a long stoppage. When the first segment was already timed, Canadian Lance Stroll lost control of his Aston Martin. The car hit the barrier of a narrow road circuit with great force and fell back onto the track. The left wheel suspension and half of the side pod were broken or destroyed.
But Stroll radioed to the pits: “I’m OK.” Since a lot of fluid had spilled out of the car and the barriers were badly damaged, the cleanup work took some time.
Verstappen can take another step towards his third world title this Sunday (2pm Central European time). Depending on the outcome of the race at the Singapore Grand Prix, he could mathematically take another victory at Suzuka, Japan, just a week later. He has 145 points more than his teammate Perez, who is second in the rankings.