The Red Bull driver knew that Sunday would be a struggle after he qualified only 11th on the grid, insisting afterwards that he could “forget” challenging for victory.
In the race, he could only climb to fifth after a strategy gamble that saw him start on the hard tyres failed to pay off, and a safety car emerged at just the wrong time.
“I knew that this day would come so for me it is absolutely fine,” he said after the flag.
He added: “Everything needs to be perfect. Everyone is always saying, ‘Ah look how dominant they are and look how easy it is’.
“But it is never easy, and a lot of details that we need to get right and this weekend clearly we didn’t get a few things right and then you are on the back foot.”
Red Bull had won 14 races in a row prior to Singapore, plus the final event of the 2022 season, breaking the record for most consecutive wins by a team that had been held by McLaren since 1988.
However, team principal Christian Horner insisted that he had no regrets about the streak ending, and with it the possibility of winning every race in the 2023 season.
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing
Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images
“We never expected it,” he said when asked about missing a clean sweep of the season.
“I mean, there’s still eight races to go! You guys have been asking me since pretty much Jeddah, and to have got through 15 races is beyond our wildest imagination.
“For Max to have won 10 in a row is insanity. Last time a driver did that was Sebastian [Vettel] in one of our cars.
“Again, so incredibly proud to have the first and the second most winningest drivers in F1. While statistics apparently don’t matter, they are ones that as a team we are incredibly proud of.
“And to have got this far, to have broken the record [held by McLaren] since 1988, shows just how hard it is to achieve the kind of supremacy that we’ve achieved this year. And that’s testimony to everybody doing and playing their part.”
Horner made it clear that winning so consistently is not as easy as it looks.
“To win 15 in a row is insanity when you consider the variance of circuits that we’ve come across, the conditions, etcetera,” he said.
“It is the first time since I think 2018 that we weren’t in Q3 yesterday, so it’s been a hell of a run for the team that we always knew was going to come to a stop at some point.
“And it’s been an incredible year, one that we’re all very proud of. And hopefully we can be back up at the sharp end next weekend.”
Additional reporting by Jonathan Noble
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