Max Verstappen says Red Bull should have seen trouble looming after he was forced to abort the lap that looked set for pole position at the Singapore Grand Prix due to a lack of fuel.
The championship leader, who could win his second drivers’ championship this weekend, was comfortably quickest on his penultimate run on a drying track but backed off to be able to start another lap right at the end of the session when conditions would be at their best.
However, despite being nearly a second faster than Charles Leclerc through the first two sectors, Verstappen was called into the pits and aborted his lap.
The call from Red Bull left Verstappen down in eighth place as Leclerc took pole ahead of Sergio Perez and Lewis Hamilton, and a team spokesperson confirmed to RACER that the decision was taken due to a lack of fuel.
“I think we got a little surprised that we had that extra lap, but you can track that and see it coming so I don’t really understand how that was missed,” Verstappen said. “Of course, in hindsight they should have let me finish the lap before that they told me to abort already to make a gap for the last lap.
“Of course, all of this was triggered by Pierre [Gasly] in front of me so I had to make a gap for the final lap because I was getting close to him, but that is not an excuse. I can’t see how much fuel is in the car, but we have all the sensors in the world to track these things.
“Incredibly frustrating because we had a good car and you could see that already through Q3 the car was really good, of course the conditions are tricky but I like that but the car was also working quite well.”
Had Verstappen finished his lap, then there was a risk there would not have been enough fuel left in his car for him to complete the lap back to the pits and then provide the mandatory fuel sample to the FIA.
Failure to do so results in exclusion from qualifying, meaning the decision to pit was the safe approach. However, despite Red Bull regularly impressing with its work from the pit wall this year, Verstappen says it’s important he vents at his team.
“I like the critical approach, because when I f**k up they can also tell me that I made a mistake, and I think it should be the other way around as well because that’s how we keep each other heading into the right direction. Because we want to be perfect – we don’t want to be good, we want to be perfect.”
And Verstappen fears his fourth-row starting position will be particularly tough to overcome on the street circuit, despite carving through the field to win from 10th in Hungary, 14th in Belgium and seventh in Italy.
“It’s a bit like Monaco to be honest, you get stuck behind cars, you can’t really pass … We have been to tracks where passing is possible. This one is going to be a bit different, a bit more frustrating, but I know that once I jump in the car I’m going to give it everything I have and try to move forward, but I don’t really see a podium or a win.”