Red Bull’s Max Verstappen needed to leave enough fuel in the tank to give the scrutineers a sample, which is why he needed to abort his final run during qualifying for the Singapore Grand Prix.
The Dutchman had gone second fastest in two of the opening three practice sessions of the weekend, ad he spent the first two qualifying sessions trading places with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, and Mercedes’ Sir Lewis Hamilton.
Those two phases were completed on the Intermediate tyres, but the drivers switched onto the Softs for the start of Q3.
The Dutchman was struggling to get his rubber switched on, so he had lost out to Hamilton and Leclerc on the opening run, with Fernando Alonso also going quickest at one stage.
The 24-year-old went fastest in sectors one and two, but made a mistake at Turn 21, so he had to back off and go again for another lap.
Having gone slower than his best on his final run, he improved in the middle sector, and he might have had a shot at challenging Leclerc, who had once again gone quickest.
As he came into the final sector, Verstappen was told to pit, prompting a series of expletives to come from the reigning champion.
It soon emerged that the Red Bull team needed to have enough fuel left in the tank to give a litre of it to the scrutineers.
Leclerc claimed his ninth pole position of the season as a legacy, while Verstappen ended up down in P8.
Ironically, eighth is where Verstappen needs Leclerc to finish to win the championship this weekend, provided the Red Bull driver wins with the fastest lap.
The fact that Verstappen did not have enough fuel to complete qualifying was described by the 31-time race winner as “incredibly frustrating,” and something that “shouldn’t happen,” when speaking to Sky Sports.
And, after being told to pit on the radio, the Dutchman lashed out at his race engineer, asking what was going on in a profanity-laden message.