Max Verstappen was “pretty grumpy” after Singapore qualifying for a driver who has the title “sewn up” while one could conclude Red Bull are “hurting” from the FIA’s flexi wing clampdown.
Those are the thoughts of former Ferrari team manager Peter Windsor after Red Bull’s double Q2 exit at the Marina Bay circuit on Saturday night.
Despite seemingly taking a small step forward in Saturday’s final practice, Verstappen fourth quickest in FP3, Red Bull’s 15-race winning streak is under threat after a wretched showing in qualifying.
Max Verstappen was ‘not happy’ with his RB19 in qualifying
While Sergio Perez, P13 in qualifying, was unhappy with the rear-end of his RB19 and went spinning on his final flying lap, Verstappen called his car “undriveable”, “really bad” and spoke of it being a “shocking experience”.
That was just the tip of the iceberg in the Dutchman’s criticism of his car having let rip during final practice as he experienced upshifts issues and also drifting.
Windsor was surprised by the 25-year-old’s “grumpy” radio messages given this is the first time his RB19 has let him down all season.
“We didn’t see the whole lap but I heard the radio transmission from Max afterward which was pretty grumpy, really overly so I think, for a guy who’s got this year’s championship sewn up, who’s had a brilliant car underneath him all year,” Windsor said after qualifying.
“It was along the lines of did you see that, it was just impossible to drive.
“It was over the top really, I thought of that reaction. But not happy.”
As for Perez, the 71-year-old said he went spinning like a “rather inexperienced” driver when he lost it at Turn 1.
“Sergio Perez just lost the whole thing at Turn One in a very inelegant spin, the type a rather inexperienced driver would have. It was obviously just no front end from his point of view at all.
“So neither of them made it through into Q3,” he said.
Could Red Bull be paying the price for the flexi wing clampdown?
Their double Q2 exit begs the question of what exactly went wrong for Red Bull given up until now they’ve had the best car on the grid, one that sticks to the track like, as Martin Brundle put it, a gecko walking through glue.
Windsor reckons it could be as Christian Horner said that the track’s 90′ corners negate the RB19’s strengths. It could also be the FIA’s new clamp down on flexi wings that came into effect in Singapore.
He continued: “I was thinking about that comment from Christian Horner about how they’re not very good on 90-degree corners. What he means, and really think about it, is that a 90-degree corner isn’t really a corner, it’s just stop and then turn and go.
“It’s therefore not flattering all the things that the Red Bull is really good at, which is medium-speed long corners, high-speed long corners. They can’t use any of that stuff.
“But doesn’t mean to say that they should be any worse than anybody else through 90-degree corners. I think that’s the point. I suppose they’ve never really been in this position under that much pressure, with also the added problem of the shift issue on Max’s car.
“And on top of that, the popular supposition that the tougher flexi wing regulations introduced this race are hurting Red Bull more than any other team very easy to draw that conclusion.
“Personally, I think we should wait until after Suzuka to see if that really is the case.”