Verstappen appeared on course to beat F1 title rival Lewis Hamilton to pole position for Saudi Arabia’s inaugural grand prix after setting the fastest time in both the first and second sectors on his final lap of Q3.

But in a dramatic conclusion to qualifying, Verstappen locked up at the final corner and clattered the outside wall, leaving him third behind both Hamilton and Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas.

There were concerns that Verstappen could have damaged his gearbox in the crash, with an automatic five-place grid penalty triggered if drivers' units need to be swapped before they have completed six consecutive events. 

Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmet Marko told Servus TV after qualifying that the team would not risk reliability and would change Verstappen’s gearbox if any sign of damage was detected. 


However, no damage was found during Red Bull's post-qualifying checks, meaning Verstappen will line up from third for Sunday's race. 

The following changes were made to Verstappen's car: 

- Front wing/nose assembly 
- RHS rear trackrod
- RHS rear top wishbone
- RHS rear lower wishbone 
- RHS rear upright assembly 
- LHS front upright gaitor 
- PAS rack
- Rear brake friction material
- Parameter changes associated with RHS rear corner replacement 
- Parameter changes associated with brake friction material replacement

Earlier this year, Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc failed to start the Monaco Grand Prix from pole after a driveshaft issue emerged on his car on the way to the grid.

It was only discovered when Ferrari fired up the car on Sunday after the team had already cleared Leclerc's gearbox to race following a crash in qualifying.

Verstappen holds an eight-point lead over Hamilton and will be crowned world champion in Jeddah if he outscores Hamilton by 18 points.