Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has revealed that Max Verstappen's sluggish getaway at the Singapore Grand Prix was due to a recurring clutch issue.
Starting from fourth at Marina Bay Circuit, the Dutchman experienced a lot of wheelspin at lights out and was swallowed up by the chasing pack. What’s more, Verstappen’s poor launch created a chain reaction that resulted in the retirement of Force India's Nico Hulkenberg and an early Safety Car period.
“The issue was triggered by a clutch issue,” Horner explained. “We thought we had a problem on Saturday, we took the clutch out, we got permission from the FIA to inspect it.
“They couldn’t see anything physically with it so we couldn’t change it and a problem has re-appeared where it’s delivered too much torque, he’s then picked up a lot of wheel spin and then that combined with Hulkenberg, which cost us a huge amount of time into the first corner.”
This is the third race in a row where Verstappen dropped a few places at the start. But like in Monza, the 18-year-old partly managed to make up for lost ground, as he recovered to sixth at the flag.
“[He was] then running in the dirty air, pushing hard to try and pass,” Horner added. He burnt up the tires pretty quickly at the end of the first two stints. Then his race got stronger and stronger during the second half.”