Max Verstappen is set to pick up the ‘award’ for the unluckiest driver of the year as he picked up yet another DNF – the sixth of his season so far – this time while running in fifth place during the Belgian Grand Prix.
Spa Francorchamps was packed to capacity with Dutch fans made the pilgrimage to the Ardennes to support their driver. But it was a cruel day for them and Verstappen as his Red Bull coasted to a halt with no power, stopping in front of the bright orange spectator bank along the Kemmel Straight. His race was over after only seven laps.
The teenager got out of his car waved to the crowd and hopped on the back of a scooter for a ride back to the paddock.
Later he wrote on his website, “I am very angry with the whole situation: we are just too slow, so you get yourself psyched up to go for it and try to score some points. But that doesn’t happen in this way either. It is very disappointing, that it’s being going this way all year long and me dropping out so often, actually always in good positions.”
Adversity makes you stronger, some say…
“You can keep saying that, but at a certain point that stops. I don’t need this to make me stronger, you saw that Saturday during qualifying.”
Verstappen hinted that his team are unable to pinpoint why he has suffered so many technical issues, relative to his teammate Daniel Ricciardo – the Australian finishing third in Belgium.
“If we knew what the problem was, it wouldn’t happen again. For a top team like this, something like this should absolutely not be happening. If we knew what the issue was we could fix it. But every time it’s something different. It’s very frustrating that the problems only affect me, but I am not saying there is more to that.”
“To be out of the race after just eight laps is just not right for a top team. You can say: it’s bad luck, but this hasn’t got anything to do with luck, this is plain bad. I didn’t have any power. I tried some things on the straight but it didn’t work.”
As for dealing with the inevitable disappointment, he said, “I usually don’t talk too much. I am just going to do my own thing.”
2017 is fast becoming a forgettable season for the 19 year old with six DNFs in 12 starts on his scorecard, and only one podium to show for his efforts. He is sixth in the championship standings, 65 points adrift of his teammate.
In contrast teammate Ricciardo is fourth in the standings, with three DNFs, but has six podiums including a win thus far.
Big Question: Is Max perhaps guilty of ‘over-driving’ his Red Bull to make up for the performance deficit?