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Reigning Formula One champion Max Verstappen was eliminated from Q2 of qualifying at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
Red Bull were dealt a major shock as their two-time world champion driver was forced to prematurely retire from Saturday's qualifying. Verstappen was heard telling his team over the radio: “It’s almost not accelerating," beforehand.
The Dutchman, who comfortably won the first race of the season in Bahrain earlier this month, had to settle for 15th place on the grid ahead of Sunday's race.
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Red Bull were hoping for their third consecutive front-row lockout before being undone by a reliability issue, believed by commentator Martin Brundle to be a transmission problem.
Verstappen made his way to the Red Bull garage with six minutes of Q2 still remaining, before stepping out of his vehicle and trudging down the pit-lane.
A frustrated Verstappen fumed in his interview: “It’s the first time I heard about it. It’s very annoying for it to happen, we had a really good weekend, the car was working really well – now it will be a bit more tricky to get to the front, but it’s all about scoring points.
Do you think Max Verstappen will still win Sunday's race? Let us know in the comments section.
“Anything is possible at this track but it’s going to be tough. We have good pace.”
Fans on social media were left stunned at the rare problem suffered by a Red Bull, with one Twitter user writing: "Engine problem for Max Verstappen ??? the world is healing."
Another tweeted: "Well this might spice the race up for a few laps at least."
And a third added: "He'll still finish on the podium. The car is in a different League."
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