Martin Brundle says he was “quietly pleased” with Max Verstappen’s botched qualifying session in Jeddah, as likely were many F1 fans, as it heightened expectations for Sunday’s race.
Verstappen was forced to launch his race from P15 on the grid following a driveshaft failure on his Red Bull that had left him stranded in Q2 on Saturday.
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“In the end, it was another show of total domination by Red Bull in Jeddah,” Brundle commented in his post-race column for Sky Sports.
“I have to be honest and say that when Max Verstappen had a driveshaft problem in qualifying, meaning that he would start 15th on the grid, I was quietly pleased, relieved, and energised.
“Nothing against Max and his incredible talent, but at least we would have something to look forward to on race day.”
Indeed, by the half-way point of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, after picking off his rivals lap after lap, the two-time world champion had carved his way through the field and up to second behind teammate Sergio Perez.
However, that was as good as it got for Verstappen, who was unable to bridge the final five-second gap with Perez in the second part of the race, a shortfall that perhaps surprised those working on the Dutchman’s side of the Red Bull garage reckons Brundle.
“Perez out front matched whatever his team-mate Verstappen could muster speed-wise and duly won the race in fine style,” added the Sky F1 commentator.
“Verstappen stole the fastest lap championship point on the final tour and that clearly annoyed Perez, who was surprised the team didn’t call off the fight when they had a one-two easily in the bag and he was suffering with a longer brake pedal, and unbeknown to him, Max was feeling a vibration in his transmission.
“Team Verstappen were perhaps surprised that Perez could match their pace, and they were no doubt annoyed that it was ultimately the qualifying car issue which prevented Max setting a new record of 16 victories in 21 races.”
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