AUSTIN, Texas — Max Verstappen was surprised by the car damage he sustained in Q1 after running over one of the sausage kerbs at the Circuit of the Americas.
Verstappen damaged the rear wishbone of his car after running over a yellow bump at Turn 15. He returned the car to the pits but was unable to set another lap time, meaning he qualified 15th for Sunday’s U.S Grand Prix.
Teammate Daniel Ricciardo had told the media he had been advised by his race engineer to stay off the kerbs at the circuit for fear of incurring similar damage, but Verstappen said he did nothing out of the ordinary compared to other drivers.
“Everybody was taking them,” Verstappen said. “We also drove like that the last two years and again today was all fine, so it is really unexpected. Everything was well within the limits of everything, so there was nothing crazy.
“As you can see, everyone else was doing it as well. So, that is why we are a little bit amazed how it happened.”
Although Verstappen is likely to inherit a couple of grid spots when the Toro Rossos serve their penalties for taking new Honda engines, he was unsure as of Saturday evening whether he would be hit with one of his own for a gearbox penalty — but he added either way it “is not going to change the world”.
Ricciardo qualified a distant fifth behind Mercedes and Ferrari. Verstappen does not think he would have been much closer, although he thinks Sunday’s grand prix could be a different story.
“I think they were too quick. We never thought we had a chance in qualifying. I think we have a good race car. I felt good in qualifying with the laps I did.
“Hopefully we can clear the midfield quite quickly and we can still be in the race like last year and have a good fight with them.”