F1 fans were left baffled after Max Verstappen looked on course for pole position at the Singapore Grand Prix when his Red Bull team aborted his lap with just seconds left.
Ferrari's Charles Leclerc took pole at the Singapore GP after a bizarre decision from Red Bull to abort the lap because he was low on fuel.
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Verstappen has a mathematical chance of retaining his world title this weekend, but ended up eighth fastest in the damp conditions.
The Dutchman set the fastest first sector but was reined in before the finish.
Team engineer Gianpiero Lambiase was heard over the radio telling Max: “Box, Max, box, box, box, box.”
"Why? Why? Why?" Verstappen asked when told to box, before unleashing an expletive.
“Why? What the f**k, why? What the f**k? What the f**k? What the f**k are you guys saying? Unbelievable, mate. I don’t get it, what the f**k is this about?
Lambiase tried to calm the situation as Verstappen finished his lap.
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He was well clear of Leclerc at the time splits but it could have been a good call from Red Bull if it turns out he was about to go under fuel limit regulations, one possible explanation for the decision.
Drivers can be disqualified if they don't have enough fuel left in the tank.
Leclerc clinched a season-leading ninth pole and finished .022 ahead of Verstappen's teammate Sergio Perez and .054 clear of Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton.
Verstappen starts eighth, dealing a blow to his chances of wrapping up the title on Sunday on a street track difficult for overtaking.
Leclerc said: "It was really, really special, every qualifying in street tracks are super on the limit."
Verstappen leads Leclerc by 116 points and will clinch his second straight title only if he scores 22 points more than Leclerc, his most realistic challenger.
The race buildup has seen bickering between teams over an alleged 2021 budget cap breach by Red Bull, which drew an angry response from Red Bull team principal Christian Horner.
Also, seven-time F1 champion Hamilton was summoned to appear before the stewards for a potential jewellery breach shortly after third practice had ended at the Marina Bay Circuit.
The summons appeared related to Hamilton's nose stud, which he had previously removed when the FIA's jewellery ban was applied.
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