That AlphaTauri didn’t attend the hearing into Max Verstappen’s impeding of Yuki Tsunoda in qualifying for the Singapore Grand Prix was a “sporting disappointment” for Martin Brundle.
Putting in the laps in qualifying at the street circuit, Verstappen found himself locked out of the pole position shoot-out when Liam Lawson relegated him to 11th on the timesheet.
Worse yet, or so it seemed, was that Verstappen was facing not one but three stewards investigations for his actions in qualifying. One of those was what looked from onboard footage to a slam dunk case of impeding Tsunoda.
Martin Brundle surprised Max Verstappen wasn’t penalised
Footage showed that Verstappen, not on a push lap, was in the middle of the track and that the positioning of his car meant the AlphaTauri driver couldn’t take the ideal line and he aborted his lap.
But despite the stewards saying it was a case of impeding, the driver was only handed a reprimand.
Brundle was surprised, and he reckons Verstappen and Red Bull would also have been with his light punishment.
“Quite how Max Verstappen didn’t also get a penalty for impeding Yuki Tsunoda in qualifying when considering other penalties applied this season was a great surprise to many in the paddock, which I confidently predict includes the team and driver in question,” he wrote in his Sky Sports column.
“That Tsunoda’s AlphaTauri team didn’t send a representative to the hearing, albeit as the junior Red Bull team, was a sporting disappointment to me.”
According to Motorsport.com, AlphaTauri opted not to attend the hearing as they didn’t receive a formal summons and they also hadn’t lodged a complaint themselves to the FIA.
Red Bull’s set-up changes ‘seemed to go the wrong way’
That, though, is about where the good news ended for Red Bull on a weekend in which they’re 15-race winning streak, and Verstappen’s 10-race run came to an end.
Carlos Sainz took advantage of a wretched weekend for Red Bull, one in which the team couldn’t find a solution to what was an ill-handling RB19, to end the team’s record-breaking run as he took the chequered flag ahead of Lando Norris.
Verstappen was fifth with Sergio Perez P8.
“Red Bull had started from 11th and 13th after a miserable two days of running,” Brundle said. “The car which had stuck to the road like a gecko wading through superglue this season to date, suddenly looked almost undriveable.
“The team tried to find a car set-up over the bumps and specific circuit challenges with vertical stiffness and ride height changes, but if anything seemed to go the wrong way.”
But with rivals already saying they believe Singapore will be an outlier, Red Bull could wrap up the Constructors’ Championship at the next race in Japan if they outscore Mercedes by one point.