Max Verstappen seems to have thrown in the towel after failing to finish the 2022 Australian Grand Prix, his frustration evident when he admitted he is miles behind in the Championship.
The reigning Formula 1 World Champion was almost three tenths off the pace of Charles Leclerc in qualifying, and never looking to be a threat for his rival during Sunday’s race, as the #16 Ferrari seemed to be in imperious form throughout the 58-lap-event.
To make things worse, the Dutchman suffered from a car failure, his second in the only three races contested this year, putting him sixth in the Drivers’ Standings, 46 points behind his rival Leclerc.
Speaking after the race, Verstappen was clearly disillusioned with how his race unravelled, concerned about the reliability issues that do not seem to spare his RB18.
“We’re already miles behind, so I don’t even want to think about the championship fight at the moment. It’s more important to finish races,” he said.
The Red Bull ace revealed his lack of pace at Albert Park adding: “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,” he lamented.
“I knew there was a problem and it was always going to be a case of trying to finish the race. But these kind of things, if you want to fight for the title, cannot happen,” Verstappen insisted.
Verstappen’s frustration understandable
Speaking to the media after the race, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner was sympathetic with his driver’s plight, while admitting the team had no idea what the problem the #1 RB18 had, hinting the old fuel pressure issues might have popped up again.
“It is totally understandable his frustration that was a really disappointing result to not finish the race,” he said. “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,” he added.
Horner echoed Verstappen’s sentiments saying: “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.
“We, as a team, just didn’t have the pace to compete with the Ferrari today on these tyres, on this surface on this track today. It was untouchable and we didn’t see that on Friday so it just came alive today.
“We need to get on top of it, we can’t accept DNFs, we need to get on top of it and address it,” a defying Horner added. “Max, it is fair to say, hadn’t been happy all weekend with getting the car in the window.
“We have things in the pipeline that I think will help and we move back to Europe now so we have to put this behind us, address it and move on,” the Red Bull boss concluded.
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. pic.twitter.com/6hEUlkvwZK
— Max Verstappen (@Max33Verstappen) April 10, 2022