Max Verstappen defends right to criticise Red Bull after qualifying ‘f***-up’

Jamie Woodhouse
Max Verstappen, Red Bull, watches on during the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend. Budapest, July 2022.

Red Bull's Max Verstappen watches on during the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend. Budapest, July 2022.

Max Verstappen feels that since Red Bull will point out his mistakes, him doing the same to them is the way to reach perfection.

With the track drying as qualifying for the Singapore Grand Prix progressed, by Q3 a gamble on dry tyres looked the way to go, that proving to be the case.

Verstappen was forced to regroup and go again after his flying lap broke down late in the session, Red Bull wanting him to create a gap to Pierre Gasly ahead, although as he made the line just before the chequered flag it meant he had another attempt – or so we all thought, Verstappen included.

With the Dutchman piecing together another lap which had him in contention for pole position, Red Bull ordered him to abandon the lap and return to the pit lane, prompting a furious response from the confused Verstappen. Team boss Christian Horner said he could not explain the reason over the radio.



As it turned out, Red Bull had only fuelled him for five laps, not six, so were worried he would not be able to provide a fuel sample after the session, which would have resulted in exclusion. P8 on the grid it is then for Verstappen.

He certainly did not shy away from pointing the finger of criticism at Red Bull, the team accepting responsibility, and something he believes he is perfectly entitled to do.

Asked by about his criticism, put to him that occasions when Red Bull have let him down are rare, Verstappen replied: “I know, but I like the critical approach. Because when I f*** up, they can also tell me I made a mistake and I think it should be the other way around as well.

“Because that’s how we keep each other heading in the right direction, because we want to be perfect. We don’t want to be good, we want to be perfect.”

Quizzed on whether he had passed his thoughts on to the team, Verstappen said: “I think they know when they saw my face and what I said on the radio.

“I think we got a little bit surprised that of course we had that extra lap, but you can track that, you see that coming. That’s why I don’t really understand how that was missed.”

As for the lap he had given up on before the last attempt Red Bull pulled the plug on, Verstappen felt it “definitely” would have been enough to put him on pole.

He would have kept up maximum attack, rather than back off Gasly, if he had known it would be his last attempt.

“In hindsight, they should have let me finish the lap before when they told me to abort already to make a gap for the last lap,” Verstappen suggested. “Of course, all of this was also a bit triggered with Pierre in front of me.

“So that’s why I had to create a gap for that final lap, because I was getting close to him. But that’s not an excuse. I can’t see how much fuel is in the car, but we have all the sensors in the world to track these kinds of things.

“It was already over two seconds to my fastest one in Q3. I mean, even on the lap I did, I had a big moment in the last sector. And I was already like two seconds up, I think, before I even got to those two corners.

“That was a big one. That could have been also right hand down into the wall! But we saved it.

“Normally, if you have enough fuel in the car, that last lap would have been faster. I didn’t know I didn’t have enough fuel in the car, otherwise, of course, I would have just gone for it.

“It would have definitely been pole. Because like I said, my 1:51.3 or whatever I did, I had a really big slide in the last chicane before the last corner. So there was a lot in it.

“So yeah, incredibly frustrating because I think we had a good car. And I think you could see that already to Q3 the car was really good. The conditions are tricky, but I like that. The car was also working quite well.”

Verstappen can secure his second World Championship in Singapore, though victory is the minimum he needs, with closest rival Charles Leclerc set to start from pole.

Read more: Winners and losers from Singapore Grand Prix qualifying