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"It's more important to finish races" – Max Verstappen says Red Bull 'already miles behind' in the 2022 F1 championship

Max Verstappen tends to the fire in his car after retiring from the F1 Grand Prix of Australia (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Max Verstappen tends to the fire in his car after retiring from the F1 Grand Prix of Australia (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Niharika Ghorpade

Max Verstappen was gutted after his DNF at the 2022 Australian GP. The Dutchman believes Red Bull need to improve their reliability before they can think of a championship.

Speaking to Sky Sports F1 after the race, the reigning champion said:

“We’re already miles behind, so I don’t even want to think about the championship fight at the moment. I think it’s more important to finish races. Today was in general just a bad day again. Not really having the pace, and just managing my tyres to try and just bring it to the end, because it looked like quite an easy P2 anyway.”

Dejected with the result, Verstappen explained that a second-place finish was an easy result until his retirement. Not wanting to think about the championship, the Dutchman believes he lacked the pace to fight Charles Leclerc and his priority was to nurse his tires and car to the end.

Gutted. Very frustrating to end another race like this as we were looking at an easy P2 😤Congrats to @SChecoPerez on scoring another podium. 💪We have to work hard the coming days to get on top of things and improve for Imola. https://t.co/6hEUlkvwZK

Frustrated with the outcome at Albert Park, Max Verstappen said:

“I knew I could not fight Charles [Leclerc], so there was no point to try and put pressure on him. But yeah, we didn’t even finish the race. It’s pretty frustrating and unacceptable. I knew there was a problem. So it was always going to be a question mark of finishing the race. I mean, these kinds of things, if you want to fight for the title, they cannot happen.”

The Dutchman was aware that a DNF was a possibility, with several car parts being changed in his car in parc fermé and on the grid. According to FIA notes, the auxiliary radiator, left-hand side deflector, fuel cell loom, clutch actuator, gearbox hydraulic system, and clutch breakout box were replaced ahead of the race. Red Bull later confirmed that the issue on the Dutchman’s car was not related to the power unit, but was a fuel leak, hence more related to the hydraulics of the car.


Red Bull understands Max Verstappen’s frustrations after DNF in Australia

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner empathized with Max Verstappen’s frustration and disappointment after the Australian GP race result. The current result makes the Dutchman trail Leclerc by 46 points, making the title fight look like a far-fetched glory.

Empathizing with the Dutch champion’s frustration, Horner spoke to Sky Sports and said:

“It is totally understandable his frustration. That was a really, really disappointing result not to finish the race. We don’t know what the issue is yet, but I don’t think it’s actually engine-related. I think it might be a fuel issue, but we need to get the car back, we need to be able to look at what’s exactly happened.”

Explaining the problem with Max Verstappen's car, Horner revealed that the mechanical problem was a suspected fuel issue. The Red Bull team principal, however, believes they can’t be certain until the car is taken apart and diagnosed at the factory.

Christian Horner reacts to Max Verstappen's second DNF of the season and suggests the issue may not have been engine related. https://t.co/ElvYQC6rUW

Speaking about the reliability issue, Horner said:

“I’d rather fix a fast car, than try and make a reliable slow one fast. We need to get on top of it. We can’t accept DNFs, but we need to understand what the issue is and we have got to address it.”

Horner believes they’re in a better position to try to fix a reliability issue on a fast car than develop a slow reliable car over the course of an entire season. Looking at rivals Mercedes’ struggles, the Milton Keynes boss prefers their own situation but understands the need to address the reliability problem soon. The current result places Mercedes 10 points ahead of them in the constructors' championship, while they trail Ferrari by 49 points.


Who do you think will win the Constructors' Championship this year? Tell us in the comments below..

Edited by Anurag C

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