Aston Martin Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen branded his suspension failure in qualifying for Formula 1‘s United States Grand Prix as “frustrating,” after it left him unable to participate in most of the session.
After completing his initial run in the first segment of qualifying, Verstappen was on another flying lap, but a snap of oversteer on the exit of Turn fifteen made his Red Bull drift out onto the rumble strips placed on the exit to deter drivers abusing track limits.
Unfortunately for Verstappen, his right-rear suspension failed after hitting the strip, causing a failure which the team could not fix in time for him to participate in Q2.
As such, Verstappen will start the race at the Circuit of the Americas in eighteenth position, after both Red Bull-Toro Rosso Honda‘s received grid penalties and the Dutchman was handed his own five-place grid drop for a gearbox change.
“It’s pretty frustrating as plenty of other cars, including myself has been doing this all weekend,” said Verstappen. “It was bad luck for the failure to happen when it did.
“It shouldn’t be an issue in the race as you usually don’t push the track limits as much as in qualifying.”
Verstappen’s team-mate Daniel Ricciardo secured the fifth fastest time in qualifying but will start in fourth position, owing to Sebastian Vettel‘s three-place grid penalty for ignoring red flags in Friday practice.
Verstappen keen to emulate 2017 drive
In the 2017 US Grand Prix, Verstappen was forced to start from the rear of the field, owing to a grid penalty for using more power units than allowed.
During the race, he carved through the field and was pressuring Kimi Räikkönen late on for the final spot on the podium.
However, on the final lap, at Turn eighteen, Verstappen cut the corner while overtaking the Ferrari driver, thus earning himself a five-second time penalty and demotion to fourth.
But he is keen to rely on that experience of overtaking the midfield in last year’s race as he looks to move forward and score points.
“The plan is to clear as many cars as quickly as possible and be able to fight at the front,” he explained. “The longer it takes to get through the pack, the further ahead the front runners [will] get, so a quick start is important.
“I like driving here, and last year I had fun fighting my way up from sixteenth so I can be excited for the race.”