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Formula 1 Saudi Arabia GP

Verstappen doesn't know what happened in "terrible" Jeddah Q3 crash

Red Bull's Max Verstappen says he doesn't know what happened in his "terrible" final corner qualifying crash which cost him pole for Formula 1's Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B

In the Q3 shoot-out at the Jeddah Corniche street circuit, Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas had just demoted Verstappen to third when the Dutchman embarked on a final flying lap.

Verstappen duly set the fastest time in the first two sectors, appearing set to claim what would have been a crucial pole in his drivers' championship battle with Hamilton following two wins in a row for the Mercedes driver.

But after locking up his left-front tyre on entry to the final a left-hand hairpin, his RB16B snapped loose and tapped the outside wall with the right-rear and right-front wheels, which damaged Verstappen's suspension and shattered his pole ambitions.

Speaking immediately after the incident, which left him third on the grid, Verstappen said he had no idea what happened but acknowledged his mistake was "terrible" given it handed his title rival Hamilton pole for Sunday's grand prix.

"Yeah, it's of course terrible," he said. "But that was generally a good qualifying.

"It was a bit hard of course to switch on the tyres here on the street circuit, but I knew the pace was there and it showed in the last segment.

"I don't really understand what happened, but I locked up and I still tried to of course keep the car on the track, try to finish the lap but I clipped the rear and had to stop."

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B

Photo by: Jerry Andre / Motorsport Images

Verstappen who leads the drivers' championship by eight points over Hamilton, would have dealt a massive blow by snatching pole away from his rival on what had been branded a Mercedes track.

Instead, he faces the prospect of chasing Hamilton down the fast and narrow streets of Jeddah, with the Briton's team-mate Bottas as a buffer in second.

"P3 is a bit disappointing of course today, knowing what lap I was on," he added.

"Nevertheless, it shows that the car is quick and let's see what we can do in the race."

Verstappen said it's too early to tell if his Red Bull gearbox sustained any damage in the right-rear impact, saying: "I don't know. I immediately stopped, so let's see."

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