Verstappen: ‘Unacceptable’ not to finish… ‘we’re miles behind’
Reigning world champion Max Verstappen retired on lap 38 in Melbourne, leaving him frustrated with a second retirement in three races so far in 2022; Red Bull team principal Christian Horner admitted the team were not sure what caused the issue
Last Updated: 10/04/22 8:54am
Max Verstappen is not thinking about the defence of his world championship after suffering a second DNF in three races at the Australian Grand Prix.
The Red Bull driver was forced to bring his car to a halt on the side of the track on lap 38 with smoke coming out of the power unit, leaving Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc to cruise to victory in Melbourne.
It marked another day of frustration for Verstappen, who had to retire in the season-opener in Bahrain while fighting with Leclerc for the lead but bounced back to chalk up a win in Saudi Arabia last time out.
“We’re already miles behind, so I don’t even want to think about the championship fight at the moment,” Verstappen, currently 46 points behind early drivers championship leader Leclerc, said. “It’s more important to finish races.
“Today was in generally just a bad day and, not really having the pace, I was just managing my tyres to try to bring it to the end because it looked like quite an easy P2 and there was no point trying to fight Charles because I couldn’t put pressure on him.
“But we didn’t even finish the race, which is pretty frustrating and unacceptable.
“I knew there was a problem, and it was always going to be a case of trying to finish the race. But these kinds of things, if you want to fight for the title, cannot happen.”
It was not an entirely disappointing weekend for the team, with Sergio Perez bringing his Red Bull home in second for his first podium finish since taking third at his home Grand Prix in Mexico last year.
However, team principal Christian Horner sympathised with Verstappen’s frustrations and is determined Red Bull will get to the bottom of what caused the retirement before the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola in two weeks.
“It is totally understandable, his frustration,” Horner told Sky Sports. “That was a really disappointing result to not finish the race.
“We don’t know what the issue is yet, but we don’t think it is an engine issue – we think it actually might be fuel related. But we need to get the car back and look at what actually is happening.
“Desperately frustrating, as Max said; we didn’t have the pace to race Ferrari today, they were in a league of their own and disappointing to not be in the points.”