Max Verstappen confirmed Yuki Tsunoda and Sergio Perez running wide through the middle sector in Q3 “destroyed” his chances of pole position for the Mexico City Grand Prix.
Mercedes took a shock one-two spearheaded by Valtteri Bottas, with Verstappen finishing third, over three-tenths down on the Finn.
Verstappen had his chance of improving in his final run taken away by the AlphaTauri of Tsunoda running wide through turns 10 and 11, followed by Perez.
Despite no yellow flags being waved, Verstappen revealed he had lifted off.
The championship leader explained: “On the last lap, I was on for a good lap.
“I don’t know what happened in front of me but there were two guys going off so I thought there was going to be a yellow flag so I backed out and then you know the lap is then, of course, destroyed.
“Even without that, I think we could have still gone for that pole lap. Third is not amazing but I think it is still better than starting second.”
Red Bull had performed extensive work on the rear wings of both cars throughout the day but Verstappen ruled out any effect on qualifying from the issues.
“We had to repair them but I think in the end, when we went into qualifying, everything was like normal,” said Verstappen.
“Of course, it is not ideal but I don’t think it was the reason why it was a bit of a struggle for us in qualifying.
“Qualifying did not go our way but we are not using these tyres [softs] anyway so still all to fight for.”