Max Verstappen was left angry by his Red Bull Racing team after he was forced to abort his final lap in qualifying for the Singapore Grand Prix.
It was a strange qualifying session at the Marina Bay circuit on Saturday, as earlier rain left conditions damp and drivers needing to be on intermediate tyres for the first two sessions.
As the track dried going into the final top 10 shootout, drivers were able to switch to slicks and give it one final go to try and get into pole position.
Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton, Charles Leclerc and Verstappen had all been top of the pile at certain points but the defending champion, who could retain his title this week, had fallen down the list with the introduction of the dry tyres.
Charles Leclerc reflects on his pole position in a HECTIC qualifying in Singapore! 🎤 pic.twitter.com/XZk8VdsZQw— Sky Sports F1 (@SkySportsF1) October 1, 2022
Mistakes in the final sector of one lap left him down in eighth and having just one bash at beating rival Leclerc to top spot, with the checkered flag having been waved.
The Dutchman didn't have a good first sector but his speed in the middle section and final third looked to be putting him on pole but right at the end of the lap he was told over the radio by his team to abort his lap and drive into the pits.
"Why? What the f…why? What the f***? What the f***? What the f*** are you guys saying? Unbelievable, mate. I don’t get it, what the f*** is this about?" the 25-year-old shouted.
He was on-course for an unbelievable lap 😱— Formula 1 (@F1) October 1, 2022
Max was unable to fight for pole in Singapore, after being called into the pits to ensure he had enough fuel for a sample after qualifying#SingaporeGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/lUdIsiu5HJ
On commentary, Sky Sports' Martin Brundle suggested that the reason to box Verstappen may have come from a lack of fuel in the car.
Drivers need to have enough fuel left in order to take a sample, and if not then they risk a grid penalty, which could have taken Verstappen further down the grid to start on Sunday.
With cards going for long stints, as the track dried and times got quicker, it seems that Red Bull may not have fueled him to finish that lap and get back to the pits on the cool down lap.
Speaking after he got out the car, Verstappen confirmed that it was indeed the case, saying, "I already felt the lap before as well, but then they told me to abort, says ‘okay’, we do that, but then on the final lap they told me to box, then I realised I think what was gonna happen and we ran out of fuel.
"So it’s just incredibly frustrating and shouldn’t happen. When you under-fuel it or don’t do plan to do that sixth lap, then at least you track that throughout the session that you know you’re not going to make it and we should have seen that way earlier.
"So I’m not happy at all at the moment. I know of course it’s always a team effort and I can make mistakes and the team can make mistakes but it’s never acceptable.
"Of course you learn from it, but this is really bad, to be honest – it shouldn’t happen."
It was Leclerc in his Ferrari who took pole in the end, with Verstappen's teammate Sergio Perez in second, Hamilton will start in third, on the second row, alongside Carlos Sainz.
Verstappen will start in eighth. Whilst he has won recently from worse positions, it is tough to overtake on the street circuit around Singapore.
It looks like a failure to fuel his car will delay his second world drivers' championship being confirmed until the next race and, in the meantime, he could lose his first title.
Featured Image Credit: F1
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