Max Verstappen has fired back at critics and told them to "suck an egg" after taking pole position for the Japanese Grand Prix.
Red Bull had a shock outing in Singapore where both cars qualified outside of the top ten, while both Verstappen and Sergio Perez only managed to finish in fifth and seventh in the race, bringing to an end its record run of 15 straight races, hopes of sweeping the 2023 season as well as ending Verstappen's 10 consecutive wins.
Questions surrounded the team and whether it was hurt by technical directives that had come into effect, including TD018 which refers to elements on the floor and flexing of wings.
The team ditched a new spec floor at Marina Bay as it struggled, but it has reappeared at Suzuka - with Verstappen using it to devastating effect to trounce the field and grab pole by 0.581s from Oscar Piastri.
Verstappen has topped every session over the weekend bar Q2 when Charles Leclerc grabbed top spot, but the World Champion had a message for his doubters.
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Verstappen: I was just fired up
When asked about whether this pole margin was a statement of intent following critics, Verstappen told media including RacingNews365: "Honestly, yeah. We had a bad weekend.
"Then people start talking about 'Ah, it's all because of the technical directives' - I think they can go suck on an egg.
"For my side, I was just very fired up to have a good weekend here and make sure that we were strong."
Red Bull will win the 2023 Constructors' Championship at Suzuka if it out-scores Mercedes by a single point and Ferrari does not out-score it by 24 points.
Verstappen must wait until Qatar to seal his third World Championship as he can be a maximum of 177 points ahead of Sergio Perez after the Japanese GP - with 180 still on the board.