Max Verstappen was forced to retire his car during lap 40 of the Australian Grand Prix after he could “smell weird fluid”. The Belgian driver wasn’t feeling confident with his car, so while he did end with a DNF, the fact he held P2 for the race was a real testament to his driving.
A small fire could be seen coming from the engine bay of the Bull as he pulled over and gave us his second DNF of three races. This lands the driver in sixth position in the drivers’ standings with him being 46 points behind leader Charles Leclerc.
Team principal Christian Horner has now reacted to the DNF, with him hinting at it being a fueling issue:
“It’s totally understandable, his frustration. That was a really disappointing result not to finish the race,” he told Sky F1.
“We don’t know what the issue is yet – 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 exactly happened.
“Until we get the car back, we don’t have the data [or the] info. [It’s] pretty frustrating.”
It’s likely that Red Bull won’t have an issue until Tuesday when the car returns to its home in Milton Keynes.
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“As Max said, we didn’t have the pace to race Charles today.
“They were in a league of their own. It’s frustrating not to be bagging those points.”
Red Bull had made changes to the car’s gearbox before the race, but Horner doesn’t expect these changes to have been the reasoning behind the DNF:
“I don’t think it’s related to that but, as I say, it’s all premature until we get the car back.
“It’s difficult just making a hypothesis – I’d rather know the facts.”