SportF1Verstappen: "There doesn't seem to be a clear solution"

Verstappen: "There doesn't seem to be a clear solution"

Max Verstappen was forced to abandon the Australian Grand Prix with 20 laps to go due to a problem with the fuel system. This withdrawal cost him what would possibly have been a second place finish, behind the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc.

The Red Bull driver was also unable to finish the first Grand Prix of the season, in Bahrain, last March, due to a different problem with the fuel pump, which has caused him to lose a significant field at the start of the race. fight for the title.

The Dutchman is sixth in the standings with 25 points, all thanks to the victory in Saudi Arabia, and is 46 points behind the drivers’ championship leader, Charles Leclerc.

Verstappen called the problems “unacceptable” after the race, later explaining to print media in Melbourne that Red Bull had “a lot of things to work on”.

“I will go home first, I will talk to the team when I am back home,” Verstappen said.

“We will try to forget today and wake up tomorrow to focus again on the next races.”

“But also, there doesn’t seem to be a clear solution. So we have to work hard to try and improve our reliability.”

Verstappen had managed to fight closely with Leclerc in both Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, but struggled to keep up with the Ferrari driver during the Australian weekend.

On Saturday, Leclerc took pole by almost three-tenths of a second at Albert Park, controlling the front easily despite two rebounds behind the safety car. In the end, he finished the race 20 seconds ahead of Sergio Pérez, who took second place for Red Bull, after Verstappen retired.

Verstappen explained that he had struggled all weekend with the balance of his RB18, making it difficult to get close to Leclerc. “Balance-wise I’m having a lot of problems, it’s quite random,” said the Dutchman.

“And in the race we had terrible tire degradation. So you can see we’re definitely not in the right place.

“I mean, it’s still second place. But if we want to fight for the title, we have to be ahead of Ferrari, and they definitely have things much more under control than we do.”

Before his retirement Max Verstappen was powerless against Ferrari's Charles Leclerc

Red Bull boss Christian Horner commented after the race that the team was “definitely out of the right place” to fight Ferrari, attributing balance problems to misjudging track conditions and tire demands.

“What we saw on Friday made us think the race was going to be limited to the rear,” Horner said.

“We could see quite a bit of graining on the rear tyres, and I think a combination of maybe a rubber surface and particularly the temperature today, it was almost a reverse issue then and having tried to counteract the issues we expected from Friday , we ended up with a car that was very limited at the front.”

“That’s why I think we were out of the balance window with the cars. That’s why we had a lot of graining, especially on the medium tyre.”

“On the hard tyre, it wasn’t really that bad. We didn’t get to see Max’s top pace,” concluded Horner.

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