Red Bull’s race-winning streak came to an empathic end at last weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix as the Marina Bay Street Circuit exposed unexpected weaknesses of the previously-unbeaten RB19. 

There were suggestions that Red Bull’s mysterious performance drop off might be related to two new technical directives introduced in Singapore to clampdown on flexi-floors and flexi-wings. 

But after turning in a stunning performance to put Red Bull back on top in qualifying at the Japanese Grand Prix, Verstappen hit out at Red Bull’s critics. 

“We had a bad weekend and then people start talking about ‘yeah, it’s all because of the technical directives’. I think they can go suck on an egg,” Verstappen said. 

“From my side, I was just very fired up to have a good weekend here and make sure that we were strong.” 

The reigning world champion was a massive 0.581 seconds clear of the McLaren duo of Oscar Piastri and Lando Norris - and over seven-tenths faster than Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez as he claimed his ninth pole position of 2023. 

"Incredible weekend so far,” Verstappen said. “Especially in qualifying when you push it to the limit, it felt really really nice.

"We had a bad weekend in Singapore but I already felt from the preparation we had that this would be a good track.

"You never really know how good it would be but from Lap 1 it has been really nice.

"You try to find little improvements here and there and to be on pole here is fantastic."