Max Verstappen was “quite grumpy” after qualifying in Singapore for a driver who has the title “sewn”, while one might conclude that Red Bull is “suffering” due to the crackdown on the FIA’s flexible wing.
This was the thought of former Ferrari team manager Peter Windsor after Red Bull’s double exit from Q2 at the Marina Bay circuit on Saturday evening.
Despite seemingly making a small step forward in Saturday’s final practice, Verstappen was fourth fastest in FP3, Red Bull’s 15-match winning streak in danger after a dismal performance in qualifying.
Max Verstappen was “not happy” with his RB19 in qualifying
While Sergio Perez, thirteenth in qualifying, was unhappy with the rear end of his RB19 and spun on his last flying lap, Verstappen described his car as “undriveable”, “really bad” and spoke of a “shocking experience”.
This was just the tip of the iceberg in the Dutchman’s criticism of his RB19 which broke away during final practice whilst experiencing upshifts and even drifting.
Windsor was surprised by the 25-year-old’s “grumpy” radio messages, as this is the first time his RB19 has let him down all season.
“We didn’t see the whole lap, but afterwards I heard Max’s radio broadcast which was quite grumpy, really exaggerated, so I think, for a guy who sewed up this year’s championship, he had a brilliant car underneath him all year,” Windsor said after qualifying.
“It was along the lines of did you see?, it was just impossible to drive.
“It was really exaggerated, I thought about that reaction. But not happy.
As for Perez, the 71-year-old said he spun like a “pretty inexperienced” driver when he missed the turn in Turn 1.
“Sergio Perez lost everything at the first corner in a very inelegant spin, the kind that a rather inexperienced driver would have had. Obviously he wasn’t a front end at all from his point of view.
“So neither of us made it through to Q3,” he said.
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Could Red Bull pay the price for cracking down on the flexible winger?
Their double exit from Q2 begs the question of what exactly went wrong for Red Bull, given they had the best car on the grid until now, one that sticks to the track like, as Martin Brundle put it, a gecko walk in glue.
Windsor believes this could be the case, as Christian Horner said the track’s 90′ curves negate the RB19’s strengths. It could also be the FIA’s new crackdown on flexible wings that came into force in Singapore.
He continued: “I was thinking about that comment from Christian Horner about how they’re not very good at 90-degree turns. What he means to say, and really think about it, is that a 90 degree turn isn’t really a curve, it’s just stopping, then turning and going.
“So all the things that Red Bull is really good at, which is long medium-speed corners and long high-speed corners, are not flattering. They can’t use any of those things.
“But that doesn’t mean they should be worse than anyone else in 90-degree turns. I think that’s the point. I guess they’ve never been in this position, under so much pressure, plus the gearbox problem on Max’s car.
“And beyond that, the popular assumption that the stricter flex wing regulations introduced in this race are hurting Red Bull more than any other team, it’s very easy to draw that conclusion.
“Personally I think we should wait until after Suzuka to see if that will really be the case.”
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Pundit’s article criticizing Max Verstappen’s “exaggeratedly grumpy” radio messages first appeared on Planetf1.com.