Max Verstappen admitted it was “terrible” to crash into the wall at the final corner in Jeddah, having been on for pole position.
The Red Bull driver was on a superb lap on his final run in qualifying, having been comfortably quicker than Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas in the first two sectors.
He was well on course to take pole away from the two Mercedes drivers, but with the back end of his RB16B stepping out momentarily he gave the wall a heavy tap and damaged the rear right area of the car, ending the lap and his pole chances.
Red Bull now face a nervous wait to see if his gearbox remains intact for the race, but Verstappen still looked to take the positives from the session as he will line up P3 on Sunday.
A dramatic ending to qualifying in Jeddah!
Max Verstappen hits the barriers on his final flying lap 💥
Leaving him in P3 – with title rival Lewis Hamilton taking pole!#SaudiArabianGP 🇸🇦 #F1 pic.twitter.com/1yFZfDdBQS
— Formula 1 (@F1) December 4, 2021
“It’s of course terrible, but it was in general a good qualifying,” Verstappen told Sky F1 immediately after the session finished.
“It was a bit hard to switch on the tyres here around the street circuit, but I knew the pace was there and it showed in the last lap.
“I don’t really understand what happened but I locked up and I still tried keep the car on the track, try to finish the lap but [I] clipped the rear and had to stop.
“P3 is a bit disappointing of course today, knowing what lap I was on, but nevertheless it shows the car is quick and let’s see what we can do in the race.”
Asked if he had damaged the gearbox as a result of the crash, Verstappen replied: “I don’t know. I immediately stopped, so let’s see.”
So long as the gearbox has lived to tell the tale, Verstappen still is confident he can have a successful Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, starting as it stands from P3.
His grid slot could still change, depending on the outcome of Red Bull’s appeal of the decision to only reprimand Hamilton for impeding during FP3, while no further action was taken after Hamilton was investigated also for allegedly ignoring double waved yellow flags.
“Looking at the positive side we were quick, and the last few qualifyings we haven’t been able to fight for pole,” Verstappen explained to Sky F1.
“I still have good hope for tomorrow that we can race well. It should be all right, I think, we should be competitive.”
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