Max Verstappen says battling through the Formula 1 midfield in the Singapore Grand Prix gave him “zero” pleasure as he took seventh.
Verstappen, who could have won the World Championship at Marina Bay, was bogged down at the start and went into anti-stall.
He fell to 12th from P8 and battled with the Haas of Kevin Magnussen, before quickly moving up to seventh and coming up against the Alpine of Fernando Alonso.
The #1 car was unable to pass the Spanish driver, with race leader Sergio Perez eking out a pit-stop advantage over his teammate before Alonso’s engine expired on Lap 21.
This freed Verstappen, but a massive lock-up on the Yuki Tsunoda Safety Car restart meant he was forced to pit again, emerging in 12th place.
He recovered to seventh – passing fellow World Champions Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel – but was still frustrated with the result and his weekend overall after Red Bull’s fuel blunder in qualifying robbed him of pole position.
Zero pleasure for Verstappen
“Zero” replied Verstappen when asked by RacingNews365.com about whether battling the midfield gave him any pleasure.
“This is not what I enjoy.
“We need to be competitively fighting at the front – it is just frustrating being stuck behind cars and having a problem at the start.
“Then I had a big lock-up and was at the back again. It is just super messy.”
Verstappen heads to Japan with a 104 point championship lead, with 112 left on the table after Suzuka – meaning he must out-score nearest rival Charles Leclerc by 10 points and teammate Sergio Perez by 12 to be a two-time champion.
Verstappen explains Norris lock-up
On the restart following the Tsunoda Safety Car, Verstappen attempted to overtake Lando Norris up the inside of Turn 7.
However, he is locked up and slid down the escape road, requiring a further pit-stop.
The Dutchman put this down to bottoming out.
“I tried to go for a move on Lando, but somehow I completely bottomed out as soon as I hit the brakes,” he explained.
“So my wheels came up in the air and I massively locked up and had massive flat spots, so I had to box again.
“The new tires went on and we got back in the points, but of course it is not what we wanted.
“I was already struggling a little bit on the normal racing line with bottoming under braking, but when I went alongside him, I didn’t even brake that late.
“Of course your tire pressures maybe a little bit low, but I hit the brakes – bottomed out massively and the front wheels came up – that’s why I locked both wheels.”