Second retirement from three races “frustrating and unacceptable” - Verstappen

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Second retirement from three races “frustrating and unacceptable” - Verstappen

Formula 1

Second retirement from three races “frustrating and unacceptable” - Verstappen

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Max Verstappen described his late retirement from second place in the Australian Grand Prix as “frustrating and unacceptable”.

Verstappen was in what he called an “easy” second place, just over seven seconds behind eventual race winner Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari, when he pulled over on the 39th lap of the race.

The retirement leaves him down in sixth place in the drivers’ championship, 46 points behind Leclerc having retired from two of the first three races of the season.

“We’re already miles behind, I don’t even want to think about the championship fight at the moment, I think it’s more important to finish races,” Verstappen told British broadcaster Sky Sports F1 after his retirement.

“Today in general was just a bad day again, not really having the pace, just managing my tires and trying to bring it to the end.

“It was quite an easy P2 and I knew I could not fight Charles, so [there] was no point trying to put pressure on him. I didn’t even finish the race, so [it’s] pretty frustrating and unacceptable.”

Verstappen said he didn’t know what caused the problem, but did admit he was aware prior to having to stop that there was a risk of him not finishing the race.

After his retirement, Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez was told emphatically that there were no concerns about Verstappen’s problem also afflicting his car. This suggests Red Bull had a clear idea of the problem.

“I knew there was a problem so was always going to be a question mark of finishing the race,” said Verstappen. “These kinds of things, if you want to fight for the title, cannot happen.”

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner claimed after the race that he didn’t know what the problem was, but suggested it was a fuel problem rather than any kind of engine failure. He admitted Red Bull didn’t have the speed to do anything about Leclerc even with a clean run in terms of reliability.

“It’s totally understandable, his frustration,” said Horner. “That was a really disappointing result not to finish the race.

“We don’t know what the issue is yet, I don’t think it’s actually engine-related, I think it might be a fuel issue. But we need to see exactly what happened. Until we get the car back, we don’t have the info.

“It’s desperately frustrating. As Max said, we didn’t have the pace to race Charles today — they [Ferrari] were in a league of their own but frustrating not to be bagging those points.”

Verstappen and Perez both stopped late in the Bahrain Grand Prix with a fuel cavitation problem. The vapor-lock forced both to retire, with Perez losing power on the last lap and spinning at Turn 1 as a result.

However, Red Bull has taken action to fix that problem and as Perez had no such issue, it suggests this could be a different fuel-related issue, with a small fuel leak a possibility.

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