Max Verstappen says his crash during qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix was caused by a surge of 150 horsepower when he didn’t expect it.
Running fourth in Q1, Verstappen headed back out for a late run and lost control on the exit of Turn 2, sliding sideways through the gravel and hitting the barrier with his front left corner, breaking his suspension. Having investigated the issue, Verstappen says a surprise power mode kicked in that caused him to spin.
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“Well I studied the data immediately when I came out of the car because for me it was also a big surprise what happened,” Verstappen said. “I think it’s never happened to me before in my career, something like that. Of course I’ve had crashes in qualifying but that’s like going off the track or outbraking yourself. But Turn 2 in Q1 is not flat, it’s like 95 percent throttle but somehow from one lap to the next I got like 150 horsepower extra on the rear tires…
“More or less 150 horsepower extra kicked in and it overslipped the rear tires and made me spin.
“You have a certain throttle map which can be a little bit aggressive but I’ve been running it for over a year now, but somehow in that corner it gave me suddenly 150 horsepower extra.”
And Verstappen says the reason he was out on track was to try and solve a mapping issue that had been costing him time when trying to run in qualifying specification.
“Yeah in general also top speed losses [were a problem]. That’s why I was doing an extra lap, to calibrate everything. Because every time I was using the faster modes I had a problem, I was three or four tenths slower than what it should be.
“That’s also what happened to me in third practice. I was second but I lost four tenths from the engine by not having the power. It was not as much as in the practice but there were still problems on the straight, just not the deployment I wanted, so the team told me to do another lap to try and calibrate it better. But I couldn’t finish the lap.
“It was the same mapping, it was just to try and calibrate. But this has nothing to do with this spike in power, it was just the power of the engine. Somehow from one to the other lap with exactly the same throttle position, the same mode, everything…”
Despite his crash, Verstappen is confident he will be able to recover to score significant points on Sunday.
“It can be a good race, I think the pace of the car is good in the long runs. I just need to be on it tomorrow, but in general up to P5 is quite a big gap in pace. So with a bit of luck, maybe with a Safety Car I can hopefully maybe fight in front again. Like Austin last year, I finished on the podium – of course it got taken away – but I would say I have a good chance.”