MUST-SEE: Pole favourite Verstappen struck by ‘very annoying’ mechanical issue in Saudi Arabian qualifying
Having swept his way to the fastest times across all three free practice sessions for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, pole favourite Max Verstappen had his dreams of a first P1 start in Jeddah dashed by a mechanical issue on his Red Bull RB19 on Saturday evening.
Having gone fastest in Q1 by 0.483s, Verstappen had just saved a big snap of oversteer in Q2 when his RB19 began to make some decidedly unhealthy noises – the Dutchman limping back to the pits before hopping out of the stricken car, a driveshaft mechanical failure later diagnosed as the problem.
LIVE COVERAGE: All the action from qualifying for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix
“Coming out of Turn 10 it happened,” Verstappen commented after making it to the media pen. “It's very annoying. We were having a good weekend, every session was going well.
“It will be a bit more tricky to get to the front. Anything is possible at this track but let’s stay a bit more realistic. But we have good pace, so for sure we will move forward.”
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It means that Verstappen remains pole-less in Jeddah – while with the reigning world champion having only managed to set the 15th fastest time in Q2 before his issue struck, a rise through the field to a second consecutive victory in Saudi will be a tall order around the winding Jeddah Corniche Circuit on Sunday night.
Relive the dramatic moment in the video above.