Verstappen blames engine misfire for Q1 exit
Max Verstappen's disastrous qualifying for Formula 1's Chinese Grand Prix was down to a misfire caused by an ignition coil problem.
The Red Bull driver was only 19th fastest in qualifying after lapping 3.755s off Lewis Hamilton's pole position time, although he will move up two places thanks to penalties for Jolyon Palmer and Romain Grosjean.
Verstappen was forced to abandon his first run in Q1 when the problem manifested itself without setting a time, and didn't have the power to set a competitive enough time to progress to Q2 when he returned to the track.
"Something to do with the coil, and that limited my qualifying – there was no power," said Verstappen when asked about the problem.
"I couldn't use the power modes. I tried to do a lap, but I had no power so it makes no sense really.
"There was something misfiring in the engine. The guys will investigate this evening and I'm confident they can resolve it for the race."
Verstappen said that even without the problems Red Bull is still playing catch-up to Mercedes and Ferrari, with teammate Daniel Ricciardo qualifying fifth and 1.355s off pole position.
He also pointed to the difficulties in setting the car up that also caused problems during the Australian Grand Prix weekend.
"We need to get a better balance, plus more grip and more power," said Verstappen.
"It's difficult to understand the changes we do compared to last year, when you'd change this and this would happen to the car. That's not the case this year."
Ricciardo was content with the set-up of his car after improvements following Saturday morning's free practice session, insisting the lack of grip was to blame for the deficit to the top two teams.
But he accepts Red Bull has to make significant strides to close the gap.
"This morning, we weren't that happy with it, but we improved it into qualifying and the car didn't feel too bad," said Ricciardo. "I think that's where we are now [on pace], it was pretty well balanced. We're just down on downforce, down on grip at the moment.
"It's a pure amount of grip as opposed to set-up not quite being there."
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About this article
|Location||Shanghai International Circuit|
|Drivers||Daniel Ricciardo Shop Now , Max Verstappen Shop Now|
|Teams||Red Bull Racing Shop Now|