Max Verstappen rued a power unit glitch that meant he could not fight for pole during qualifying in Hungary, saying it was very unfortunate as he looks at an uphill task from tenth on the grid on Sunday.
The 2021 Formula 1 Champion had a bad first lap in Q3, locking a wheel, and as he went out on a new set of tyres for his final run, the power unit of his RB18 developed a problem, losing power, something Red Bull could not react to in time.
Speaking to Sky Sports F1 after qualifying, the Dutchman admitted he did not yet know what went wrong saying: “No, I didn’t go to the team yet to talk about it. I don’t think it was a big issue but it wasn’t something we could solve on track basically.
“It is very unfortunate,” he added, and went on to praise the turnaround his team achieved from Friday when they were struggling.
“I think the turn around from yesterday was amazing and the guys and girls back at the factory, there was a lot of analysing going on to understand what was not really working that well yesterday,” Verstappen revealed.
Red Bull’s turnaround the only positive on Saturday
“Anyway, that was the positive about today, we understood what went wrong and the car was so much better today in terms of handling on a track which doesn’t really suit us.
“So that is a big positive for the rest of the year anyway, that on a track that we are not that strong we can be competitive,” he added trying to find some positives from an otherwise frustrating qualifying.
“But of course I would have still liked to start in the top 3 and I think we had the pace for it because in Q2 we looked very strong comfortably. Good turnaround but unfortunately the little glitch we had means we start 10th,” the Championship leader lamented.
“I know this track is very hard to pass at, so we have to be patient as well,” he continued. “This year has shown that a lot of things can happen even on Sunday, so we just have to be patient.”
Sergio Perez has a frustrating qualifying in Budapest as well, as compounding on his lack of pace, he suffered from traffic as well as another bungle with the stewards, who deleted his first lap in Q2, only to reinstate it after Red Bull protested claiming the Mexican exceeded track limits trying to avoid a slower car.
“It was very unfortunate with the track limits and then I got it back,” said Perez. “And then going into Turn 2, I found Kevin [Magnussen] right on the line.
“I had to avoid him and went very deep in corner, lost a couple of tenths, which I couldn’t recover later on” he added.
It will be a busy race for the team on Sunday
This means that Red Bull will start tomorrow’s race 10th and 11th, something Christian Horner describes as “very unfortunate”.
He added: “We lost Checo in Q2, he got in a bit of traffic at Turn 2 and then, actually, Max felt a lot more comfortable with the balance of the car today and I think we were in with a shot of the pole.
“A lock up on the first run into Turn 2 immediately put us on the back foot but we still felt confident we could have a crack at it but then unfortunately a power-related issue on his out lap.
“He was obviously trying to reset sensors and so on to cure it but unfortunately it wasn’t to be,” the Red Bull boss revealed.
“No representative time in Q3 for Max and 10th and 11th on the grid so it is going to be a busy race tomorrow but congrats to George Russel on his first pole, that was a pretty tidy lap,” the Briton concluded.