Wolff accuses Red Bull of ‘purposely’ killing Max Verstappen’s car

F1 preview: A lap of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

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Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has joked that Max Verstappen and Red Bull suffered a mechanical failure “on purpose” to make a statement. Verstappen was the favourite to take pole position in Saudi Arabia after topping the timesheets in all every free practice session this weekend and Q1. 

However, the Dutchman suffered a drive shaft failure in Q2 which brought his session to an early close. After the session, Mercedes boss Wolff laughed: “Maybe they’ve done it on purpose to get a win all the way from the back.”

Verstappen made a mistake on his first run in the second part of qualifying but suffered his technical glitch moments later. The reigning champion simply slowed on the exit of turn 10 and cruised his stricken car back to the pits. 

His race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase told Verstappen that the team would do anything it could to fix the issue. Minutes later, Verstappen’s engineers were running around in a desperate attempt to find a solution. 

However, the 25-year-old quickly realised his chances of returning to the track were over and he jumped out of the car. In another blow, Verstapopen admitted the issue was unknown to Red Bull ahead of qualifying. 

He later confirmed the problem was a drive shaft glitch after initially fearing it was an engine problem. Verstappen told Viaplay:” Drive shaft is broken, so that’s it.

“I can’t make anything else out of it. Just accept it and try to make the best of it on Sunday. I went full throttle and suddenly you lose the rear right driveshaft. It would normally have nothing to do with the fact that my gearbox was replaced earlier this weekend.”

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