‘This weakness’: Max Verstappen fired warning

Max Verstappen and Red Bull Racing had a shocker in Singapore, and some attributed it to the new technical directive.

Ex-Formula 1 driver Anthony Davidson found it interesting that Red Bull struggled so much at the Singapore Grand Prix last weekend, with it having been a venue where Mercedes previously struggled when they were the sport’s dominant side.

Red Bull’s 15-race winning streak came to an end at the Marina Bay Circuit last Sunday, where Max Verstappen finished fifth and Sergio Perez salvaged eighth.

Both drivers started outside the top-10 following a double Q2 elimination for the team, the first time that’s happened since the 2018 Russian Grand Prix.

From the get-go in Free Practice, Red Bull just didn’t look like their usual superior selves, who have obliterated the competition at every round this season, bar Singapore.

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The reigning World Champion and Perez had very little confidence in the rear of the car, which was clearly a real handful to drive.

Red Bull were arguably fifth in the pecking order and would’ve likely finished outside the top-five had Fernando Alonso not endured a race to forget.

The Milton Keynes-based outfit’s woes gave Ferrari the chance to become the first team other than Red Bull to win a race this season, an opportunity Carlos Sainz grabbed with both hands.

Even before the Singapore GP got underway, Red Bull had admitted that the street venue would work very much against them, with Davidson having been pleased to see that the RB19 does actually have a “weakness”.

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The Sky Sports F1 pundit also noted how intriguing it was that Red Bull’s struggles came at the exact same venue where Mercedes always faltered in the opening years of their dominance.

Singapore was very much Mercedes’ “Achilles heel” for several years, before the Silver Arrows finally understood why they performed poorly at that one specific venue.

Davidson expects Red Bull to solve their Singapore woes ahead of the night race next season, whilst he also suspects that Verstappen will be back to the front this weekend at the Japanese Grand Prix.

“It reminded me of Mercedes in their dominant years when they arrived in Singapore and that was their Achilles heel and everybody had a chance to get the better of them there,” Davidson said on the Sky Sports F1 podcast.

“They went away and worked on that circuit relentlessly because it was their only weakness, they understood they had a weakness there, and they came back in a couple of years and had sorted it out so I fully expect Red Bull as the great engineering team that they are will get their heads around it.

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“Max will be much more in his element and the car will be much more in its element in Suzuka, I’m fully expecting that.

“I don’t think the new TD and the rule change in terms of more static front wings, I don’t believe that was the main issue for Red Bull in Singapore.

“There will be many teams out there crossing their fingers and hoping that that was why Red Bull lost their speed but I’m fully expecting them to go back to Suzuka and the car be flying again.

“But it is interesting and it’s nice to know that they have this weakness in their car.”