Max Verstappen was “fired up” by critics who suggested Red Bull had been hurt by a technical directive in Singapore, ahead of a dominant pole position at the Japanese Grand Prix.
The FIA clamped down on flexible wings and floors at the last race and it coincided with Red Bull failing to win for the first time this season. While the team had multiple explanations relating to set-up issues and track characteristics, it was regularly asked if the technical directive played a part, but Verstappen says there have been no repercussions at Suzuka.
“Zero, Singapore didn’t happen for us!” Verstappen said. “Honestly, yeah, we had a bad weekend. Then people start saying it’s all because of the technical directive, but I think they can go suck on an egg. From my side, I was just very fired up to have a good weekend here and make sure we were strong.”
Verstappen’s final pole margin was over half a second to Oscar Piastri in second place, and he says the car was simply in a window that allowed him to chase even more lap time than earlier in the weekend.
“It was on the limit but it felt in control and that is very nice when the car does exactly what you want it to do. Here what makes it very special is that there is no run off, if you have a moment you are going off, that’s why this track is really beautiful to drive when the car is planted.
“It’s always difficult to judge. After final practice I thought (McLaren) were quite close, but luckily we made some tiny adjustments and it helped it out a bit. And then in sector one, once you feel very confident in the car, you can push it a bit more and that’s what happened in qualifying.
“(Race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase) told me a 1m28 would be nice, so I told him I was going to send it. He was like ‘yeah, but don’t crash the car right?’ and I said obviously that was not what I was going to do. There was still a little bit left in a few places and that’s what I tried to tidy up, which worked out quite well.”