Lack of fuel cost Verstappen shot at Singapore GP pole

Max Verstappen

A lack of fuel cost Max Verstappen a shot at pole position for the Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix.

The Dutchman twice aborted flying laps late in Qualifying around Marina Bay and will line up for Sunday’s race just eighth on the grid.

Title rival Charles Leclerc will start from pole in a race that offers Verstappen his first opportunity to wrap up this year’s championship.

Conditions on Saturday were difficult, with heavy rain during the day leaving the circuit damp as the Qualifying hour began.

As it wore on the tarmac dried and by the final moments of Qualifying 3 slick tyres were the best option.

It also meant leaning on a banker lap set earlier was fraught with danger, especially for those capable of pole position like Verstappen.

The championship leader confessed his final run was ultimately compromised by a combination of traffic and a lack of fuel, leaving him down the starting grid.

“I think we got a little bit surprised that we had that extra lap,” Verstappen explained.

“But you can track that, you can see that coming, so that’s why I don’t really understand how that was missed.

“Of course, in hindsight, they should have let me finish the lap before where they told me to abort already to make a cap for the last lap.

“All of this was also been triggered with Pierre [Gasly] like in front of me, so that’s why I had to create a gap for that final lap because I was getting close to him,” he added.

“But that’s not an excuse. I mean, I can’t see how much fuel is in the car, but we have all the sensors in the world to track these kinds of things.

“So yeah, incredibly frustrating because we had a good car, and I think that you could see that already through Q3 that on the slicks the car was really good.

“The conditions were tricky, but I liked that.”

Verstappen claimed his aborted final lap was up two seconds on his reference effort set earlier in the session, even allowing for a wild slide in the final sector.

In the end, he pulled into the pits and will start from eighth on Sunday, a race where overtaking is not expected to be straightforward.

“It’s a bit like Monaco,” he said of the circuit and its passing opportunities.

“You get stuck behind cars, you cannot really pass…

“We have been to tracks where passing is possible, and this one is just going to be a bit different, a bit more frustrating.”

Verstappen’s Red Bull team-mate, Sergio Perez, will start the race on the front row, alongside pole sitter Charles Leclerc.

The Mexican driver missed out on pole position by just 0.022s to the Ferrari driver at the top of the timesheets.

“Conditions were super tricky today,” Perez explained.

“I had a bit moment into Turn 13, we’ve been struggling a lot with the drivability, and I had a massive moment under braking.

“I’m happy just to complete the lap because I lost quite a bit of lap time, but at the same time, I could have lost more.

“So yeah, it’s a bit disappointing to be so close to pole, but on the other hand it’s a good result and I think we are in a position to fight from there.”

Sunday’s Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix begins at 20:00 local time (13:00 BST/08:00 ET/23:00 AEDT).

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