June 20, 2024
Max Verstappen

Max Verstappen

Max Verstappen has explained the meaning behind his expression of frustration as he retired from the Australian Grand Prix.
The championship leader was the first retirement from the race in Melbourne, as a brake issue resulted in him falling by the wayside early on in the Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen retires from the Australian Grand Prix
Verstappen, who had started the race from pole position, came under attack from Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz after struggling to get his car slowed down – the Dutch driver complaining that his car felt very loose.

The issue quickly became apparent with smoke bellowing from the rear axle of Verstappen’s RB20, forcing him to slow and pit. On his way into the pits, his right rear brakes appeared to explode, with flame enveloping the corner of the car behind the wheel.

Verstappen was forced to retire as he climbed out of his smoking RB20 and explained afterward that his right rear brake had been “basically stuck on” from when the lights went out to start the race.

With temperatures skyrocketing, it got to the point where the brakes caught fire – Verstappen driving as normal despite the feeling in the car being that of like having a handbrake applied.

Having come into the pits, Verstappen could be seen on television mouthing to his mechanic that something was “stupid”, and the three-time F1 World Champion explained what the conversation had been at that point when he spoke to media after the race.

“Well, that was related to us doing a pitstop while the car was on fire,” he laughed.

“I was like, ‘Why are we doing a pit stop?’

At that point, Verstappen said his team were able to see what was going on but “didn’t know what had caused it”.

The retirement was Verstappen’s first from a technical problem since the same race two years ago, with the Dutch driver thus able to keep a pragmatic view on his misfortune as he spoke about aiming to bounce back quickly next time out in Japan.

“It excites me, in a way, because I would like to win,” he said.

“Of course, we had a lot of good races in a row, a lot of good reliability and I knew that the day would come that you end up having a retirement and, unfortunately, that day was today.

“We just had already a very good run of two years, right? I mean, that’s already quite impressive. But of course, you never like to see it happen. But it’s more important now that we understand why it happened.”
Verstappen’s retirement led to quite a few fans in the grandstand cheering at his demise, which he shrugged off as he said: “I have a helmet on so I don’t hear that!”

Asked for what his overwhelming emotion is at the end of the weekend, having travelled all the way to Australia for no reward, he said: “Not much, to be honest,” he said.

“I mean, of course, I’m disappointed with not being able to finish the race because I think we would have had a good shot at winning because the balance felt quite nice on the laps to the grid.

“Like I felt confident and a good improvement compared to what I felt in the long runs when we did in practice. But yeah, some things you can’t control.”

The retirement brings to an end Verstappen’s run of nine consecutive wins just as he was about to match his own record of 10 wins in a row that he set last year, but he remained circumspect about that fact.
“I’m not really interested in these kind of things,” he said.

“I just want to win and if it’s a win, second, win, second, or 11 in a row, whatever for me, that doesn’t really matter. As long we win the championship, that’s the most important.”

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