Max Verstappen has explained the “terrible” moment that cost him pole position at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix when he crashed into the wall on the final lap of qualifying in another dramatic moment in the F1 title race.
With Lewis Hamilton on provisional pole for the penultimate race of the season, Verstappen was clocking faster than his title rival heading into the final corner at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit.
Verstappen was pushing hard on what was a magnificent lap from the Red Bull driver but he locked up heading into the final turn and collided with the wall.
It meant the Dutchman was unable to improve upon his qualifying time and he will therefore start behind title rival Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas after Mercedes locked out the front row.
Verstappen holds an eight-point lead over Hamilton heading into tomorrow’s race but the 24-year-old could be dealt a further blow if Red Bull are forced into replacing his gearbox as a result of the Q3 crash.
“It’s of course terrible,” Verstappen said. “I knew the pace was there and it showed in the last lap.
“I don’t understand what happened but I locked up. I tried to keep the car on the track to finish the lap, and I clipped the rear - so I had to stop.
“P3 is a bit disappointing knowing the lap I was on but it shows that the car is quick. Let’s see where we can do in the race.”
Asked whether he was fearful of the damage sustained to his car during the crash, Verstappen said: “I don’t know. I immediately stopped so we will see.”
Red Bull team boss Christian Horner told Sky Sports: “Max was on course for the lap of the season. It’s a great shame.
“He just grabbed the front going into the final corner. We could see on his dash that he was four-tenths up [on Hamilton] going into the corner and unfortunately he’s run out of road. It’s pretty brutal but let’s hope the gearbox isn’t damaged.
“Max will be frustrated. He knows what a good lap it was. He just needs to put it behind him now. He’s still P3 on the grid. He needs a good start and anything can happen in this race.
“It’s a great shame because it was a mighty, mighty lap. We’ll get the car back and hopefully it’s not a gearbox penalty because that would be especially brutal.”
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