'Completely understandable' that Verstappen 'blew a valve' in Singapore qualifying says Horner
Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner says Max Verstappen's furious outburst over the radio during qualifying for the Singapore Grand Prix was “completely understandable” after he missed out on pole.
Verstappen had to abort his final Q3 lap last Saturday – which was looking good for pole position – as the team had under-fuelled his RB18. Ensuring they avoided a possible disqualification for failing to provide the necessary fuel sample, Red Bull called Verstappen into the pits instead of letting him complete his flying lap, which left him eighth on the grid, and sparked off angry comments from the Dutchman over the radio.
The championship leader said after qualifying that his team’s mistake was “incredibly frustrating”, and he ended up finishing seventh in the race. But team boss Horner sympathised with his driver after the session.
“I mean he obviously blew a valve, but it’s completely understandable and I think we were pushing too much for the optimum, the track ramped up, we got an extra lap in so we were perfectly positioned... to be the last car effectively over the line,” Horner told Sky Sports F1.
“But the fuel was just too marginal, and rather than take the risk of not being able to produce a sample and start from the pit lane, we took the tough decision to abort the lap. [We realised] about two corners before the pit lane, and it was right, right on the edge, and it was a question of: look, we just can’t afford to take this risk.”
Verstappen needs victory and fastest lap to be sure of clinching the championship at Suzuka, where this weekend Red Bull and AlphaTauri will carry the logo of partners and former engine suppliers Honda, who still provide support to Red Bull Powertrains.
“We’ve got Austin, we’ve got Mexico, they’re all big races, but yeah [Japan is] an important race,” said Horner.
“Japan, first time back there for three years, huge support for the team, and yeah, there’ll be a lot of excitement. And a great circuit, a real driver’s circuit, and we’re looking forward to Japan.”