Verstappen feeling 'terrible' after Jeddah crash hands Hamilton pole

By Sports Desk December 04, 2021

Max Verstappen felt "terrible" after hitting the wall on his final flying lap in qualifying for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, handing title rival Lewis Hamilton pole position. 

Championship leader Verstappen went fastest in the first two sectors but hit the barriers on the last corner and had to stop, meaning he will start Sunday's race from third behind Hamilton and his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas. 

The Dutchman will hope the crash did not result in any damage to his gearbox, having taken a new one ahead of the grand prix in Jeddah. A replacement would result in a five-place grid penalty that could have huge ramifications on his title challenge. 

Asked about his crash, Verstappen said: "It's of course terrible. It was a good qualifying. I knew the pace was there and it showed in the last lap. 

"I don't really understand what happened but I locked up and I still tried to keep the car and finish the lap but clipped the rear and had to stop. 

"P3 today is a bit disappointing knowing what lap I was on, but it shows the car is quick and let's see what we can do in the race. 

"I don't know [if the gearbox was damaged]. I immediately stopped so let's see." 

Hamilton has won the past two races to close the gap to Verstappen in the drivers' standings to eight points and evaded a serious punishment for impeding Nikita Mazepin and failing to comply with yellow flags during FP3 earlier on Saturday. 

The seven-time defending champion paid tribute to the efforts of Bottas in the build-up to qualifying and expects Verstappen's Red Bull to be a significant factor on Sunday. 

"We were quick through practice but particularly FP3 and qualifying were just lacking pace, struggling with the tyres, so for us to get a one-two I'm really proud of Valtteri and the men and women in our team who have been working so hard. It's a great result," said Hamilton. 

"This was the goal. We worked so hard through simulation, set-up. Collaboration has been epic with Valtteri, he's the best team-mate there has even been in this sport, for sure. We've worked together to get the car where it needs to be. 

"Those guys [Red Bull] were just so fast. That Bull round this track is just something else, but given where we are and what we've managed to pull out I'm happy. 

"We always get closer in race pace. I anticipate there'll be a close battle on Sunday, but Valtteri and I will be on it." 

Bottas will have getting the win in the back of his mind but his priority will be helping Mercedes clinch the constructors' championship and Hamilton maximise his title chances. 

"Of course I want to get a race win, but first things first we need to concentrate on the team championship and Lewis is still fighting for the title, I'm not," said Bottas.

"I'll do my best with whatever I can and at the same time try to enjoy it." 

Related items

  • Espargaro confirmed to have fractured heel, does not require surgery Espargaro confirmed to have fractured heel, does not require surgery

    MotoGP title hopeful Aleix Espargaro is confirmed to have fractured his heel during a highside at Silverstone.

    The Aprilia rider suffered the injury during the final free practice session at the British MotoGP on Saturday and was stretchered away from the scene before hobbling to the medical tent.

    Espargaro returned for Saturday's qualifying session and secured sixth place, taking his place on the second row on Sunday following doubts over whether he would be fit to race.

    The 33-year-old was unable to compete for the win but secured a ninth-placed finish, picking up seven points and coming in just behind title rival Fabio Quartararo – who he trails by 22 points in the standings.

    Espargaro has now been prescribed a week of rest, during which time he will have to use crutches, but the Spaniard does not require surgery.

    With Espargaro carrying an injury and Quartararo having to serve a long-lap penalty, Francesco Bagnaia took the victory at Silverstone for the second race in a row to boost his title hopes.

    The MotoGP season continues from August 19-21 in Austria.

    A great launch from @FabioQ20 saw Maverick squeezed into a gap that was closing quickly! #BritishGP ?? pic.twitter.com/i9kiaQHJ3o

    — MotoGP (@MotoGP) August 7, 2022
  • Hamilton: 'Worst fears came alive' in controversial Abu Dhabi title controversy Hamilton: 'Worst fears came alive' in controversial Abu Dhabi title controversy

    Lewis Hamilton has opened up on his emotions following the controversial end to the 2021 Formula One season, admitting his "worst fears came alive" in Abu Dhabi.

    The Mercedes driver was at the tail-end of a fierce battle with Red Bull's Max Verstappen for the championship in last year's finale, knowing a record eighth world title would be clinched if he finished ahead of his rival.

    On lap 53, Hamilton led but drama would soon erupt as Williams' Nicholas Latifi crashed into the barrier at the exit of turn 14 and the safety car was deployed.

    Under FIA guidelines, lapped cars are allowed to overtake behind the safety car but that guidance was not followed by race director Michael Masi, who instead only allowed the cars between Verstappen and Hamilton to move through.

    Verstappen, having pitted, then completed an overtake of a defenceless Hamilton at the restart to clinch his maiden title.

    The controversy that followed rumbled on for months, with Masi departing his role prior to the start of the 2022 season, and Hamilton has now spoken about his feelings regarding the incident.

    "You see things start to unfold and my worst fears came alive," he told Vanity Fair.

    "I was like, there's no way they're going to cheat me out of this. There's no way. That won't happen. Surely not.

    "I don't know if I can really put into words the feeling that I had. I do remember just sitting there just in disbelief. 

    "And realizing I've got to undo my belts, I've got to get out of there, I've got to climb out of this thing, I've got to find the strength. I had no strength.  And it was one of the toughest moments, I would say, that I've had in a long, long time.

    "I knew what had happened. I knew what decisions had been made and why. Yes, I knew that something wasn't right."

    Ahead of the 2022 season, questions were raised whether Hamilton would return to the grid, and he admits that he considered retirement.

    "I, for sure, considered whether I wanted to continue," he confirmed.

    Hamilton did return, racing alongside new teammate George Russell, but has not been able to compete for the crown, instead encountering numerous issues with Mercedes unable to compete with Red Bull and Ferrari at the start of the season.

    Better fortune was found ahead of F1's summer break, with back-to-back podium finishes for both drivers, but Hamilton remains 112 points adrift of Verstappen in the standings.

  • Zarco 'surprised' by Silverstone crash as he misses out on first win Zarco 'surprised' by Silverstone crash as he misses out on first win

    Johann Zarco was "surprised" by his crash at Silverstone that denied him the chance to secure a first MotoGP victory.

    The Pramac Racing driver started the British Grand Prix on pole as the season resumed following a five-week break and was able to maintain his lead in the early laps of the race.

    A crash at turn eight on lap five ended that charge, however, with Zarco initially continuing but later returning to the pits and retiring from the race.

    It was the eighth time in the premier class that Zarco has failed to turn pole position into a victory, and he felt his tyres were the reason why he missed out again.

    "The warm temperature pushed me to take this medium front – that was a good tyre anyway because Pecco [Francesco Bagnaia] won on it, but it seemed for me, it was the reason of the crash, because there’s always a bit less grip with this tyre," he said.

    "But I was too worried to go with the soft one and not finish the race on a good pace, overall. The medium one, I knew it pretty well, so that's why I was quite confident, and the first laps were pretty good.

    "But I was surprised in that Turn 8. And clearly I'm disappointed, and it's pretty hard to put all the things together to put the victory."

    Zarco's failure to finish saw him drop to fifth in the championship standings, now sitting 66 points behind leader Fabio Quartararo - with Sunday's race at Silverstone being a missed opportunity to close the gap, as the Monster Energy Yamaha rider only finished eighth after having to serve an early long-lap penalty.

    The championship standings do not paint a pretty picture for the Frenchman, but he believes further opportunities will arise.

    "I hope I will be in good form again in Austria, because what I could feel during this weekend and even during the race helped me to grow on the Ducati and get even more feeling as I want," he added.

    "So, yeah, the most positive of today is this feeling that I could take during the race, and understand even more this tyre that sometimes seems a tricky choice, because for nothing you can be hero or zero."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.