Verstappen: I could have been ahead twice

Both Red Bull cars suffered problems at the end and had to retire from the 2022 Bahrain GP


Despite not finishing the 2022 Bahrain GP, Max Verstappen believes he could have been in the lead twice if he were able to push his Red Bull following the first two rounds of pit stops. 

The Ferrari of Charles Leclerc had opened up a gap of over three seconds and came out just in front of Verstappen twice, with the Red Bull driver complaining over team radio that he should have been allowed to push in order to take the lead of the race. 

“I didn’t really push on my out laps,” Verstappen told Sky Sports F1. “I could have been ahead twice. 

“The performance is there, though we didn’t show what we could really do, for whatever reason. But there is potential for sure, otherwise you aren’t up there [at the front].

“We already lost a lot of points in one race weekend, which isn’t good. Obviously I know with one retirement it isn’t over, but I would have preferred to have 18 points.”

Red Bull engine problem

Verstappen was sitting behind Leclerc after the safety car and complained about an issue with his steering, before he eventually retired with a fuel pump problem. 

“We don’t fully understand why it happened,” Verstappen said, when asked about his steering issue after his third pit stop. “But it definitely happened when the tyres came on and I drove off.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz during the race REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

“It wasn’t as if the steering got heavy, it was just impossible to steer, and the faster I was going it felt like there was a delay. So when I was turning right it took a while before something happened. 

“That’s why my restart [after the safety car] was very bad, because I wanted to go on the throttle but I couldn’t open my wheel because it was stuck. So it was very hard out there, a lot of different issues we had to deal with. 

“Pace wasn’t amazing and the balance wasn’t as good as on Friday. Just a lot of things to analyse to be honest, and you can always say problems can happen and you might have a retirement but I think at this level after having so much information with engines and stuff, it shouldn’t happen.”

John Smith
John Smith
Editor at and all round Motorsport journalist specialising in Formula 1, IndyCar and Formula E.
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