Max Verstappen set for hefty penalty

Max Verstappen was fitted with his second of four allocated gearboxes for this weekend's Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

After dominating every practice session at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, reigning world champion Max Verstappen endured a disastrous qualifying at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit, after suffering from a driveshaft failure.

Verstappen was the odds-on favourites to claim pole position with ease; however, the Dutchman complained over the radio just a few minutes into Q2.

“I have a problem – engine problem,” reported Verstappen. “It’s almost not accelerating.”

Red Bull gave the Dutchman permission to limp the car back to the pits, where he then jumped out of his cockpit.

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It was almost immediately confirmed by Red Bull on social media that Verstappen had suffered from a “driveshaft mechanical failure”, meaning he was unable to continue in qualifying.

“Q2 Final Update: Driveshaft mechanical failure confirmed for Car 1,” wrote Red Bull on Twitter.

The likelihood is that Verstappen won’t face a grid penalty given that he has several allotted parts remaining; however, it should be noted that Red Bull fitted the 25-year-old with his second of four legal gearboxes for the weekend.

The full extent of Verstappen’s damage likely won’t be unveiled until Sunday, where it will be confirmed whether he is starting from P15 or not for the race.

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Verstappen spoke to the media immediately after being weighed, where he revealed where the issue began and what he believes is possible now in the race, given how far back he’ll be starting.

“No, it is the first time I have heard about it,” Verstappen told reporters, when asked if he was aware of any potential faults with his car.

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“Coming out of Turn 10 it happened which is very annoying.

“I think so far we had a really good weekend, every session was going well, the car was working really well. Now it will be a bit more tricky to get to the front but it will be all about scoring points.

“Of course, I would have liked to have started further up the road but there is nothing I can do now. Let’s stay realistic – it is going to be tough but we have good pace so let’s move forward.”