Max Verstappen, after his below par 2022 Singapore Grand Prix, insisted he is only satisfied when he has a good weekend every single time, a clear indication of the Red Bull ace’s winning mentality.
Verstappen may be only days away from celebrating his second Formula 1 Title but he still showed his frustration after enduring one of his worst races of the year in Sunday’s Singapore Grand Prix.
The Dutchman finished seventh in a race won by Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, the only drivers other than runaway leader Verstappen still mathematically in the Title hunt.
While the 25-year-old Verstappen had always expected sealing the Championship in Singapore with five races to spare would be a tough task, a Sunday evening slog into the minor points was certainly not part of the script.
“We are still 104 (points) in the lead, but it is just a very frustrating weekend,” said Verstappen, who will be crowned 2022 F1 Champion in Japan next weekend if he stretches his advantage to 112 points.
“I can of course say it doesn’t matter, we have five races left and we have a big lead, but I want to have a good weekend every single time and we had a really terrible weekend.”
Verstappen, winner of 11 races this year, opened the campaign with two retirements from the first three rounds; the only two times he has failed to finish this season.
Singapore, round 17 of 22, was only the second time he had crossed the line outside the top-three. He also finished seventh at the British Grand Prix in July after debris damaged his car and cost him performance.
Verstappen’s winning streak ends
In Singapore, insufficient fuel forced him to abort his fastest qualifying attempt and left him eighth on the grid, playing a key role in undoing his weekend.
Sunday then ended his streak of five wins in a row, even if it was still Red Bull’s sixth in succession, and his chances of breaking the nine-race record for consecutive victories.
Verstappen, who celebrated his birthday on Friday, raged on the radio after Red Bull told him to abandon what would have been his fastest qualifying lap. He was unsparing in post-qualifying comments to the media and left the track early.
In the race, he dropped to 12th at the start after his car’s anti-stall system kicked in but made his way back up to fifth until a lunge on McLaren’s Lando Norris for fourth place went wrong.
He ended up skidding down an escape road, and then an unscheduled pitstop for fresh tyres gave him more of a hill to climb on a track where overtaking is always difficult and especially in damp conditions.
Leaving the paddock, he cut a stark contrast to the calm and relaxed figure he has seemed for much of his first season as reigning world champion.
“This is not what I enjoy,” said Verstappen, who breezed to victories from 10th on the grid in Hungary, 14th in Belgium and seventh in Italy. “(I want to) race competitively fighting at the front, this is just being stuck behind cars having a problem.” (Reporting by Abhishek Takle)