Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner believes Max Verstappen’s final Q3 effort in Saudi Arabia would have been “the lap of the year” without his mistake.
Verstappen was over two-tenths of a second under Lewis Hamilton’s benchmark on his final Q3 push lap when he locked up into Turn 27 and ran wide.
Verstappen tried to make the corner but hit the wall on the exit, damaging the right-rear of the car, which he halted on track a few metres later.
The error left Verstappen down in third, behind Hamilton and Mercedes counterpart Valtteri Bottas.
“It was looking like the lap of the year up until that moment,” said Horner.
“It’s a great shame as it was a mighty, mighty lap and he was pulling something very special out of the bag.
“Max will be frustrated I am sure as he knows what a good lap it was, but he just needs to put it behind him now.
“He’s still P3 on the grid and he just needs to have a good start, as anything could happen in this race.
“Unfortunately, we are on the back foot now, so we’ll get the car back and hope the damage isn’t too bad.
“Grid position on any street circuit is crucial and it’s going to be very hard to overtake here, so it’s all going to be about strategy and Checo could have a major part to play in the race.”
Sergio Perez is due to start from fifth place on the grid.