Max Verstappen was left frustrated after losing the chance to fight for a place on the second row of the grid in China on Saturday after an error prevented him from completing a final run in Q3.

Verstappen sat fourth after the initial flying laps in the final stage of qualifying, splitting Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc, but found himself caught towards the back of a queue of cars going slowly as they warmed up for their final laps.

Verstappen was overtaken by both Sebastian Vettel and Nico Hulkenberg exiting the hairpin before being given the hurry-up by his engineer, only to cross the line with no time left on the clock, meaning he could not complete another flying lap.

This allowed Leclerc to jump ahead of Verstappen, demoting the Red Bull driver to fifth place on the grid.

"I was following the Ferrari in front of me and trying to be nice. I could also have overtaken him, but it’s just not what you do in qualifying," Verstappen told Sky Sports after qualifying.

"This time it caught me out. Of course I’m not happy about that, but it will swing around and it will come back onto others as well. It’s annoying, because we could have fought for third today.

"Now we just need to do some more overtaking."

Asked if he expected more from qualifying, Verstappen said: "Not even expected, because it was there. We were fighting for third.

"Of course when you can’t finish your last lap, then that’s how it is. You know that the guys who have a lap have a chance of overtaking you."

"Max was in a good position, and then Sebastian passed him around the outside, so then he hung back to not get into Sebastian’s dirty air, and then a Renault passed him and he hung back again," explained Red Bull F1 chief Christian Horner.

"Unfortunately the clock ticking down the way it was, he didn’t make it to the line in time. It was a shame because it would have been a good opportunity to try and improve there. We could have made the second row today."



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