Max Verstappen says Red Bull doesn’t know why he suffered such a damaging suspension failure over a curb during qualifying for the United States Grand Prix.
When Verstappen ran slightly wide exiting Turn 15, his right rear suspension failed as he ran over a curb designed to deter drivers from exceeding track limits. Verstappen says he has been using that part of the track throughout the race weekend as well as in previous years, and Red Bull is surprised it caused qualifying-ending damage.
“The bottom part broke, and it pulled out the driveshaft,” Verstappen said. “Everybody was taking [the curbs]. I mean everything was well within the limits of everything, so it’s nothing crazy. And as you can see, everybody else was doing it as well.
“I mean we also drove like that the last few years and again today was all fine. So it’s really unexpected.
“Of course you get a bit more load through the suspension than normal, but still all under control up until then.
“That’s why we are a little bit amazed how it happened. Anyway in the race it shouldn’t be a problem because you don’t use that much of the track anyway because of tires or whatever, so it should be alright.”
Verstappen managed to return to the pits after the incident in Q1 but did not emerge again for Q2, meaning he will start from 13th due to power unit penalties for the Toro Rosso drivers. The Red Bull driver says there was no chance of replacing the damaged part, and is wary of a potential further penalty if his gearbox was damaged.
“Do you know how long [a suspension change] takes? You can’t just put it on because you have to align everything, and it’s the lower bit so it’s all connected to the driveshaft.”
However, Verstappen is confident he can still have a good race in Austin,
having climbed from 16th to fourth at the same venue in 2017.
“We also never thought we had a chance in qualifying. But I think we have a good race car. I felt good in qualifying with the laps I did. Hopefully we can clear the midfield quite quickly and we can still be in the race like last year and have a good fight with them.”
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ABOUT CHRIS MEDLAND:
While studying Sports Journalism at the University of Central Lancashire, Chris managed to talk his way into working at the British Grand Prix in 2008 and was retained for three years before joining ESPN F1 as Assistant Editor. After three years at ESPN, a spell as F1 Editor at Crash Media Group was followed by the major task of launching F1i.com’s English-language website and running it as Editor. Present at every race since the start of 2014, he has continued building his freelance portfolio, working with international titles. As well as writing for RACER, he contributes to BBC 5Live and Sky Sports in the UK as well as working with titles in Japan and the Middle East.