Max Verstappen endured a troubling Singapore Grand Prix, where he suffered his worst result since the British Grand Prix.
The Dutchman’s seventh place finish meant he failed to win the championship at the Marina Bay Circuit, and now needs to beat Charles Leclerc by eight points and Sergio Pérez by six points at this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix.
It was a very difficult race for Verstappen after qualifying eighth, and it got off to the worst start possible after narrowly avoiding going into anti-stall.
The Dutch driver then had to cut across the first corner, before almost being forced into the wall on the exit of Turn 11.
Verstappen found himself outside the points by the end of the first lap; however, he quickly made his way up to sixth behind Lando Norris.
Norris proved to be a stumbling block for the championship leader, who couldn’t find a way past the British driver.
The Red Bull driver ended up facing the wrong way with just over 30 minutes remaining, after locking-up into Turn Seven whilst attempting a lunge on Norris.
An impressive U-turn couldn’t stop the Dutch driver from having to make an additional pit-stop, which dropped him to last.
He did manage to fight his way to seventh, but in all honesty the damage was done by his team’s qualifying error.
Red Bull failed to put enough fuel into their number one driver’s car, which saw Verstappen told to abort his final Q3 lap and enter the pits, so that he had enough fuel to provide a sample.
Had Verstappen failed to listen to his team, then he would’ve been disqualified from qualifying.
The 25-year-old was livid with his time, which made for some very non-PG radio messages from the Dutchman.
Red Bull boss Christian Horner highlighted the qualifying incident as a “big wound” for the Dutch driver, who “raced his heart” out.
“It’s been a tough weekend for him, he was starting out of position, and obviously he was pushing hard, he was very patient throughout the race,” assessed Horner.
“He got an opportunity at the restart [on Norris] but because the pressures were so low [in his tyres] he bottomed out, picked up a massive flat spot, then had to pit, and again came from a massive distance behind.
“Obviously, those last couple of laps, a lot of people were watching the action at the front but the action going on between Lewis [Hamilton], Sebastian [Vettel] and Max was phenomenal.
“Yesterday was the big wound for today. It was obviously frustrating but he’s raced his heart today, he’s come through the field twice, and those points are vital for both him and the constructors’.
“He gave it everything. Unfortunately, it wasn’t his weekend.”