Verstappen doubts rear wing “repair” was cause of missed Mexico pole

2021 Mexico City Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen doesn’t believe changes to his Red Bull’s rear wing ahead of qualifying was the reason why he failed to take pole position.

Red Bull were emphatically quickest in the first practice session, six-tenths of a second ahead of rivals Mercedes. However they also experienced problems with their DRS and strips of tape appeared on their rear wings during qualifying.

“We had to repair them but when we went into qualifying everything was like normal,” said Verstappen “It’s not ideal but I don’t think it was the reason why it was a bit of a struggle for us in qualifying.”

Verstappen qualified third on the grid behind the two Mercedes drivers. His final lap was compromised when two drivers ahead of him went off: Yuki Tsunoda slid wide and Sergio Perez joined him.

“It seemed like through qualifying the balance went away a little bit,” Verstappen explained. “But actually the last lap, I was on for a good lap, but then I don’t know what happened in front of me but there were two guys going off. I thought there was going to be a yellow flag so I backed out and then the lap is, of course, destroyed.

“Even with having that and not having a great balance, I think we still could’ve gone for that pole lap. Of course third is not amazing but I think it’s still better than starting second.”

“Qualifying didn’t go our way but we’re not using these tyres anyway tomorrow so still a lot to fight for,” he added.

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2021 Mexico City Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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15 comments on “Verstappen doubts rear wing “repair” was cause of missed Mexico pole”

  1. I thought there was going to be a yellow flag so I backed out and then the lap is, of course, destroyed.

    Smart… Learning from what happened in 2019, considering that a penalty is at least 3 places down.

    1. @krichelle Yellows never came out in the end, so his slight lift proved unnecessary.

  2. Race pace still should be superior. Even with 3rd, this is their race to lose. Just have to play it right.

    1. RandomMallard (@)
      6th November 2021, 22:06

      @hahostolze And he has both a slipstream into T1 and the clean side of the grid, on a track that still seems pretty dusty. And considering Hamilton won from 3rd here in 2019, I’d say this is far from over

      1. @randommallard Hamilton mightn’t start on the clean side, but he also has a slipstream advantage through nothing starting first, so he also has a chance, especially considering Sainz at Sochi Autodrom.

    2. Given how fast Hamilton is on the medium tire, it will be much tougher for Max here than Austin, unless he gets in front at the start. Bottas will be nowhere in the race on the medium tire (as usual), but he can still block Max (which he failed to do miserably in Sochi).

  3. Not a rear wing problem but a rear winger problem. Think tsonada was supposed to tow Perez for part of lap and then let him by. Didn’t work out.

    1. If that’s the case, RB only have themselves to blame.

      You just don’t give a task like that to a guy who couldn’t drive into the pits without crossing the white line… Twice…

  4. It could easily have been a lot worse: it only needed the rear wing to be declared unsafe, with needing running repairs and being safety critical, and they’d have been out of qualifying.

    1. @zann especially given that there have now been two races back to back where elements of the rear wing assembly have cracked – they also had to repair their rear wing in Austin before qualifying, as that developed hairline cracks for unknown reasons.

      Given this would have been the second instance of a similar fault in quick succession, it is possible that the stewards could have approached Red Bull to ask if there is some sort of systemic issue that could present a possible risk to both Verstappen and to other drivers (I believe that Verstappen did have an issue in the practice sessions that resulted in part of his rear wing falling off).

  5. Perfect slipstream behind bottas, unless bottas decides to move right and give hamilton a slipstream just like leclerc did with vettel.

    1. bottas is slipstreaming lewis, i would be very surprised if he slipstreams max

  6. This will be a very interesting run to turn 1 tomorrow :) I almost thought Red Bull did this on purpose, cause P3 and P4 might be better at the start than P1 and P2.. I might be wrong though.. But let’s see.. it will be nerve-wrecking!!!

    1. Nerve-racking…….or, perhaps, a pun.

  7. That wing duct tape and all is now under parc ferme. I wonder if they really feel good about racing that thing the distance tomorrow. I wonder if they can change it now under “like for like”.

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