Verstappen: Red Bull detractors "can suck on an egg" after F1 Japanese GP pole

Max Verstappen reckons that Red Bull's detractors following Formula 1's Singapore round can "suck on an egg" after his crushing pole position at the Japanese Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19

The championship leader set a first lap in the final stage of qualifying that was more than good enough for pole, but proved his quality further by beating his own benchmark by over a tenth to beat second-placed Oscar Piastri by 0.581s.

Red Bull's renewed vigour followed a disappointing Singapore weekend in which the team struggled to find pace and lost both cars in Q2 as Verstappen was knocked out at the end by Liam Lawson.

The team's drop-off in performance raised suspicions that it had been affected by recent technical directives, namely TD18 pertaining to flexi-wings and a revised TD39 that related to flexing floors, although the team pointed out that there was no correlation.

Verstappen reckoned that his pole had put those rumblings to bed and that he was "fired up" to atone from the previous weekend's struggles.

"We had a bad weekend. Of course, then people start talking about 'ah, it's all because of the technical directives'. I think they can go suck on an egg," Verstappen replied to a question from Autosport asking if his pole underlined a statement of intent.

"From my side, I was just very fired up to have a good weekend here and make sure that we were strong."

Verstappen had previously joked that "Singapore didn't happen" and that Red Bull had suffered "zero" recurrences of its issues at the Marina Bay circuit over the Suzuka weekend.

Pole man Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, receives his Pirelli Pole Position Award from Mario Isola, Racing Manager, Pirelli Motorsport

Pole man Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, receives his Pirelli Pole Position Award from Mario Isola, Racing Manager, Pirelli Motorsport

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Explaining his efforts in qualifying, the Dutchman stated that his engineer Gianpiero Lambiase had suggested that a time in the 1m28s would be achievable on his second run, having kicked off Q3 with a 1m29.012s.

Verstappen agreed that there was more left in the car, and proceeded to deliver more gains in his next lap - going a tenth up in the opening sector and finding incremental gains in the next two.

"[Lambiase] told me a 1m28s would be nice, so I said, 'Don't worry, I'm going to send it.' He was like, 'Yeah, but like, don't shunt the car, right?' I was like, 'That's not what I want to do.'

"But I knew that 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.

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"As soon as we put the car on the track, it's been very enjoyable to drive, very predictable, which I think is the most important. Lap after lap in qualifying as well, it was getting better.

"After P3 I was like '[McLaren is] quite close', but then luckily we made some tiny adjustments and I think it helped the car a little bit.

"In sector one, once you feel very confident with the car, you can push it a little bit more and that's what happened in qualifying."

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