Verstappen, Red Bull and their unfortunate Bahrain GP blip

Red Bull pair Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez were forced to retire in the final laps at the Bahrain International Circuit

-

The 2022 Bahrain Grand Prix was a disaster for the Red Bull Racing team. Both 2021 Drivers’ Champion Max Verstappen and his teammate Sergio Perez were forced to retire from the race in the final few laps after suffering from issues with their fuel pump system.

Verstappen has been locked in an intriguing fight with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc for the race win, and Sergio Perez was putting the second Ferrari of Carlos Sainz under plenty of pressure. Ultimately, things didn’t go well for the Austrian team.

“It looks like a similar issue on both cars,” Horner said of the double retire to Sky Sports F1.

“We don’t know exactly what it is yet, whether it’s a lift pump, whether it’s a collector, or something along those lines, but we’ve got to get into it and understand exactly what caused it.”

While the result might read as a double DNF, the team has plenty to be positive about heading into the second round of for the F1 at the Saudi Arabia GP.

Pace in Qualifying

While Leclerc might have ultimately claimed pole position, Verstappen wasn’t too far off, qualifying second a little over a tenth of a second behind. The Dutch driver was the quickest in Q2 and showed considerable pace throughout the preseason test.

Older fans of the sport might remember the 2010 season when then Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel suffered from engine issues at the season-opening race in Bahrain finishing fourth despite starting pole, and then retiring from the next race in Australia.

The German still went on to claim the title that year and there is no reason to believe Verstappen won’t do the same, given that the RB18 is fundamentally a very good car.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in action during Bahrain GP 2022 REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

Race Strategy

Verstappen held nothing back when he blasted his engineer over the team radio, swearing to never listen to his team again. While this was no doubt petulant, it does suggest that improvements can be made especially concerning the team’s pit stops.

Red Bull have developed a reputation for executing some lighting quick tyre changes in recent years, so it would have disappointed the team to see that they could only manage the eighth quickest stop in Bahrain.

Verstappen’s second stop was around five tenths down on Leclerc, meaning that an improvement could yield a completely different outcome in future races.

Bahrain GP 2022 Pit Stop Times

Also worth noting is the fact that Red Bull team principal Christian Horner blamed Verstappen’s steering issues on the way his car was dropped at the third pit stop, meaning that overall this was not the Red Bull team’s finest hour.

“The steering issue [on Max’s car] was when the car got dropped on the final stop, we think it tweaked a track rod, so that’s why it was slightly different left to right,” Horner told Sky Sports F1.

Championship Pedigree

In Verstappen, Horner, Helmut Marko, and Adrian Newey, the core of the Red Bull team’s operation know what it takes to win a championship. Having prevailed over the ultra-dominant Mercedes outfit last year, Red Bull trumped arguably one of the dominant forces in the history of the sport.

Yes, Bahrain might have been a complete disaster for the team but it would be foolish to write off Red Bull as legitimate championship challengers. With F1 playing host to the longest season ever, the onus will be on Ferrari to build on their early-season advantage. However, as the season wears on the Italian marque may not enjoy their current advantage as evidenced in both 2017 and 2018.

Red Bull, unlike Mercedes, doesn’t have a fundamental issue with their 2022 car, with the Red Bull Powertrains units one of the fastest on the grid. The Milton-Keynes-based outfit came within a lap of securing a podium and if they can sort out their teething issues, then it is only a matter of time before they regain their 2021 form.

John Smith
John Smithhttps://total-motorsport.com
Editor at Total-Motorsport.com and all round Motorsport journalist specialising in Formula 1, IndyCar and Formula E.
- Advertisment -

LATEST NEWS

Lance Stroll of Aston Martin and Lando Norris of McLaren during 2023 Spanish GP practice | Aston Martin F1 Team

F1 Spanish GP 2024: Schedule and Session Start Times

0
As the 2024 Formula 1 season progresses, the Spanish Grand Prix stands out as a pivotal event, offering a...
Ryan Blaney, driver of the #12 Advance Auto Parts Ford, celebrates after winning the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series Iowa Corn 350 at Iowa Speedway | NASCAR

How two tyres carried Ryan Blaney to NASCAR win at Iowa

0
Ryan Blaney's June began in heartbreaking fashion when Team Penske opted to gamble on fuel, only for him to...
Max Verstappen leads George Russell of Mercedes during the 2024 Canadian Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Red Bull vs McLaren vs Mercedes: What next in F1’s development war?

0
The Canadian Grand Prix served up the best race of the 2024 Formula 1 season so far with a...
Lewis Hamilton at 2024 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix | Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton explains why F1 doesn’t need a transfer window

0
Lewis Hamilton has weighed in with his thoughts on whether Formula 1 should adopt a football-style transfer window to...
Max Verstappen leads Lando Norris of McLaren during the 2024 Canadian Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Forget Ferrari, McLaren are the biggest threat to Red Bull

0
The very fact that Lando Norris was disappointed and frustrated with finishing second at the Formula 1 2024 Canadian...
Sergio Perez looks on at the 2024 Canadian GP | Mark Thompson / Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Horner calls for Perez to bounce back as he heaps praise on Verstappen

0
Team principal Christian Horner for Sergio Perez to get back to from for the 2024 Spanish Grand Prix whilst...

Should F1 adopt a football-style transfer window for drivers? Max Verstappen is the proof...

0
Formula 1 is unlike any other sport, and that's fine - the F1 purists thrive on its unique qualities....

What went wrong for Will Brown, Cam Waters in NASCAR Cup debuts

0
The NASCAR Cup Series had some Australian flavour Sunday when Supercars Championship stars Will Brown and Cameron Waters made...

What we learned from the 2024 Canadian GP

0
Max Verstappen returned to the top step of the podium after a terrible 2024 Monaco Grand Prix with an...
Norman Nato leads the field at the 2024 Shanghai E-Prix | Formula E

Formula E 2024-25 calendar announced for first Gen3 Evo season

0
Formula E have announced its provisional calendar for the 2024-25 season, which will be the first campaign for the...
- Advertisment -