Max Verstappen "very annoyed" as he reacts to Saudi GP F1 qualifying disaster

Max Verstappen declared “anything is possible” as he refused to rule out winning the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix despite starting on the eighth row.

The Dutchman was he heavy favourite for pole position in Jeddah but was thwarted by a mechanical problem. During Q2, he was part way through a flying lap when he was forced to ease off and contacted his team to inform them of a suspected engine issue.

He was able to limp back to the Red Bull garage but was quickly out of the car as it became clear the problem could not be fixed. As a result, he will start the race 15th on the grid.

Red Bull confirmed soon after that they suspected a drive shaft problem was the cause of the failure. Speaking to Sky Sports shortly after getting out of the car, Verstappen explained that it was not an issue which they had been aware of in advance.

“It’s the first time I’ve heard about it,” he said. “It happened coming out of turn 10. It’s very annoying for it to happen as I think so far we’ve had a really good weekend. Every session has gone really well and every time we went on the track the car was working really well.”

Verstappen won from 14th on the grid last year and so is no stranger to big comeback victories. He is not ruling out another one tomorrow, though he did acknowledge it will be very difficult for him to do so.

Sergio Perez will start the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix on pole after Max Verstappen’s drive shaft failure

The defending champion added: “So now it will be a bit more tricky to get to the front. But it’s all about scoring points. It’s a long season. Of course, I would have preferred to start further up the road, but I can’t change that now.

“Anything is possible at this track. We’ve seen a lot of crazy things, but we have to stay realistic. It’s going to be tough, but we have good pace so for sure we’ll move forward.”

Sergio Perez will start on pole with Fernando Alonso on the front row alongside him. Charles Leclerc had set the second quickest time of the session, but will take a 10-place grid penalty which benefits the 41-year-old Spaniard hunting back-to-back podiums.

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