Unhappy Verstappen critical of Red Bull despite second

Max Verstappen was very open about his desire to have a reliable car this season after finishing second at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix to teammate Sergio Perez

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Max Verstappen has called for Red Bull to ensure they build two reliable cars after admitting he was not happy with finishing second at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

A drivetrain failure during the second part of qualifying meant Verstappen started the race down in 15th, when he was the big favourite to take pole position and the win in Jeddah.

He fought back to finish behind teammate Sergio Perez, with a mid-race safety car making his drive towards the front easier on Sunday.

“It’s not only about the pace of the car, we need to make sure we are reliable without any issues,” Verstappen told the press.

“My first weekend was not very clean because of just the big balance shift from testing to the race weekend, some other things which were going on in the background.

“Now again, after three positive practice sessions, I have an issue in qualifying. Of course, I recovered the second, which is good.

“In general the whole feeling in the team, everyone is happy. But personally I’m not happy because I’m not here to be second.

“Especially when you are working very hard back at the factory, to make sure you arrive here in a good state, and making sure everything is spot on.

“Then you have to do the recovery race which I like, I don’t mind doing it, but when you are fighting for a championship, when it looks like it’s just between two cars, you have to make sure those two cars are reliable.”

He added: “We have to do better, absolutely. Just to have a cleaner weekend, I think that would be nice.”

Verstappen on his charge to second

Verstappen leads the championship by one point from Perez after setting the fastest lap of the race on the final lap.

The Dutchman was stuck behind the Haas pair of Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen early on, then began to make move after move, tactically making sure he got DRS on the home straight.

He feels second place was on the cards, even without the safety car, despite being 16 seconds behind Fernando Alonso at the time of Lance Stroll‘s stoppage.

“I think realistically with or without the safety car, I think P2 was the highest possible,” said Verstappen.

“The beginning, the first few laps, it was really hard to follow cars because the street circuit, fast corners, it was all very close, you get a kind of a tail wind effect.

Max Verstappen in action at the Saudi Arabian GP | Peter Fox/Getty Images

“The cars was a bit all over the place. After a few laps, it all started to settle in a bit better, and I could pick them off one by one.

“Then the pace was good. The safety car helped me a bit to get back in the race. But even with that, in the restart, you just lose too much time to Checo.

“So once I got into P2, it was quite a decent gap, let’s say, on a track where there’s not a lot of deg.

“So I tried to close the gap a bit. But then at one point I picked up these vibrations on the driveshaft on the rear. The team couldn’t see anything but I’m fairly sure there was something odd going on with the balance since the vibrations started to kick in.

“So at one point, I did the calculations and I wouldn’t have been able to close that gap to the end with only 10 laps left. I think it’s more important to just settle for second, not having an issue with the car.”

Nigel Chiu
Nigel Chiuhttps://total-motorsport.com/author/nigel-chiu/
Nigel Chiu is an NCTJ-qualified journalist who worked at Total-Motorsport for 18 months until May 2023. He has been following F1 since 2007 and hasn’t missed a Grand Prix weekend since. Nigel’s worked with several motorsport websites, plus Eurosport and subsequently went on to work with Sky Sports F1 where he travels to multiple F1 races each season.
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