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Brundle puzzled by lack of grid penalty Verstappen: 'A surprise to many'

Brundle puzzled by lack of grid penalty Verstappen: 'A surprise to many'

19 September - 07:04 Last update: 09:39

Red Bull Racing had been shouting for weeks: the Singapore Grand Prix will be the toughest in 2023. And that proved to be the case. Max Verstappen recorded his 'worst' season result with a fifth place, but it was perhaps more on that note. How could it be that the so-dominant RB19 had so much decay from one weekend to the next in terms of performance? Martin Brundle looks back on Red Bull's weekend.

At Red Bull itself, they blame it on the characteristics of the track, where there were also immediate sounds that Verstappen and Sergio Perez's lacklustre pace would be due to the new technical directive in force from Singapore. Christian Horner immediately firmly denied the latter, and an analysis of the RB19 also seems to say it is right on Horner's side.

RB19 lacking balance

Brundle saw that both Red Bull drivers had to start from outside the top ten on Sunday after "two miserable days". "The car which had stuck to the road like a gecko wading through superglue this season to date, suddenly looked almost undriveable. The team tried to find a car set-up over the bumps and specific circuit challenges with vertical stiffness and ride height changes, but if anything seemed to go the wrong way," he said in his column for Sky Sports.

Red Bull's problem at the Marina Bay Street Circuit was mainly the set-up. The balance was not there and so Verstappen had a difficult qualifying session in which he was even investigated several times by race control. In the pit lane, he stood still for too long and on the track he might have impeded someone twice.

Brundle surprised at lack of grid penalty Verstappen

Especially in the case of Yuki Tsunoda, Verstappen seemed to be at fault, and he acknowledged it immediately afterwards. Yet the championship leader did not receive a grid penalty. Brundle marvels at this. "When considering other penalties applied this season was a great surprise to many in the paddock, which I confidently predict includes the team and driver in question. That Tsunoda's Alpha Tauri team didn't send a representative to the hearing, albeit as the junior Red Bull team, was a sporting disappointment to me."

The stewards usually summon two team representatives, that of 'offender' and 'victim'. On Saturday in Singapore, for once, that was not the case. AlphaTauri's absence presumably had everything to do with not receiving an invitation from the FIA to attend the hearing: the relevant document shows that the team had not been summoned to appear before the stewards.

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