Verstappen: Red Bull had rear wing cracks ahead of qualifying

Max Verstappen says Red Bull had to “patch” rear wing cracks ahead of Mexican Grand Prix Formula 1 qualifying but does not think this led to ending up behind Mercedes.

Verstappen: Red Bull had rear wing cracks ahead of qualifying
Listen to this article

Red Bull had been in a commanding position ahead of qualifying at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez after topping FP2 – and completing favourable long run pace compared to Mercedes in that session – and leading FP3 by over 0.6-seconds with Sergio Perez.

But the team appeared to be under pressure going into qualifying, where Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton stunned Red Bull by claiming a front row lockout at the end of Q3, with the rears of both its RB16Bs being worked on by mechanics as the minutes to the session’s start ticked down.

Television cameras also later picked out tape covering the end of Verstappen’s rear wing following the work, attached right by the left-side endplate and covering a portion of the ‘A’ in the Honda branding at that part of the car.

Red Bull said during qualifying that the work was “precautionary” and that the wings were not cracked, which happened in final practice for the recent US GP, but when asked about the situation in the post-qualifying press conference by Motorsport.com, Verstappen said otherwise.

“They were cracked after FP3 – so we had to patch them up and basically they were like new to start qualifying,” said the championship leader.

“So I don’t think that had anything to do with it. But of course we’ll have a look into it again.”

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner told TV crews that his squad had been “just concerned with a bit of fatigue that we’d seen”, before adding that it was “nothing serious and “we just wanted to take no risk on it”.

In the middle of qualifying, Verstappen was concerned he had picked up damage to his car underneath his left-side bargeboard after clattering the Turn 2 kerbs on his first run in Q2, but when asked if Red Bull had found anything broken in that incident he replied: “Nope.

“They checked the car and everything was alright.”

Verstappen said he was not surprised by Mercedes’ pace in qualifying, but rued his car handling in Q3, which meant he already faced a deficit to the Black Arrows duo before the final runs.

In these, his final effort was spoiled by Red Bull stable-mates Yuki Tsunoda and Perez going off into the runoff at Turn 10 just in front of him, which meant he had to briefly back off.

“I think we just were really slow and just [had] terrible grip in Q3,” said Verstappen.

“So, yeah – I think my last lap we recovered that a bit just [by] getting the tyres into a little bit in a better window.

“But still not to what we would’ve like and how the car has been behaving in all the practice sessions. So that’s a bit of a mystery.

“But then tomorrow we mainly race on different tyres anyway, so I expect the balance to be good again.”

shares
comments

Related video

F1 Grand Prix qualifying results: Bottas takes Mexican pole
Previous article

F1 Grand Prix qualifying results: Bottas takes Mexican pole

Next article

Russell, Latifi avoid punishment after Mexico F1 probe

Russell, Latifi avoid punishment after Mexico F1 probe
Why is Oscar Piastri F1's most sought-after rookie? Prime

Why is Oscar Piastri F1's most sought-after rookie?

The Australian rising star is fast, consistent, confident, adaptable and has shown excellent racecraft, but there’s already a taint to his reputation. That hasn’t stopped him becoming the hottest property in this year’s F1 driver market and why McLaren moved fast to snap up the 21-year-old

Formula 1
Sep 30, 2022
The unintended benefit that F1's new engine rules era will deliver Prime

The unintended benefit that F1's new engine rules era will deliver

Formula 1's incoming engine rules shake-up has multiple targets. But it may also solve what has been a bone of contention since the hybrids arrived in 2014. The new plan will allow the series to pump up the volume

Formula 1
Sep 29, 2022
How de Vries made himself impossible to ignore for a belated F1 chance Prime

How de Vries made himself impossible to ignore for a belated F1 chance

Nyck de Vries appeared to have missed his opportunity to break into Formula 1 as he was passed over for more exciting talents who have now become frontrunners and title fighters. But after catching the eye outside of the F1 sphere, before his stunning impromptu grand prix debut in Italy, will it lead to a delayed full-time race seat?

Formula 1
Sep 29, 2022
Can Hamilton produce another Singapore magic moment? Prime

Can Hamilton produce another Singapore magic moment?

The Singapore Grand Prix has, explains Ben Edwards, played an important role in Lewis Hamilton’s Formula 1 career. As the series returns to the Marina Bay Street Circuit for the first time in three years, he faces the latest challenge with an underperforming Mercedes car.

Formula 1
Sep 28, 2022
Why Sainz is key to Ferrari achieving its chairman's F1 goals Prime

Why Sainz is key to Ferrari achieving its chairman's F1 goals

Although Ferrari's chances of title glory in 2022 have evaporated, chairman John Elkann expects the team to have chalked up both championships by 2026. Both require drivers to play the team game and, having now become more comfortable with the F1-75, Carlos Sainz may be Ferrari's key to title glory

Formula 1
Sep 27, 2022
How its faltering first turbo car advanced a Williams-Honda glory era Prime

How its faltering first turbo car advanced a Williams-Honda glory era

Stuart Codling charts the development of the Williams FW09, the ugly duckling that heralded the start of the title-winning Williams-Honda partnership

Formula 1
Sep 25, 2022
The Moss-Ferrari farce that current F1 drivers are thankfully spared Prime

The Moss-Ferrari farce that current F1 drivers are thankfully spared

Recent moves within the driver market have reminded Maurce Hamilton of a time when contracts weren’t worth the paper they weren’t written on…

Formula 1
Sep 24, 2022
The seven factors powering Verstappen's 2022 F1 domination Prime

The seven factors powering Verstappen's 2022 F1 domination

After a tooth and nail and, at times, toxic Formula 1 world championship scrap last year, Max Verstappen's march to a second consecutive title has been the exact opposite. But has he really changed in 2022? Here's a dive into what factors have played a crucial role, both inside the Verstappen camp and elsewhere, in the Dutch driver's domination.

Formula 1
Sep 23, 2022