Why Verstappen doesn’t mitigate Red Bull’s ‘hit and miss’

Max Verstappen’s second consecutive win followed open frustration over the weekend in Miami as the world champion worried that Red Bull was still too “hit and missed”.

Verstappen’s results in 2022 followed a surprisingly simple pattern: either he wins or he retires.

After two unfinishes in the first three races, Verstappen became the first driver to record consecutive victories. It was the first ‘series’ of the season and brought much-needed momentum to Verstappen’s campaign, which reduced Charles Leclerc’s lead to 19.

On the surface, it looks like Red Bull recognized its shortcomings in the early season and really tackled things. Verstappen is not ready to believe that, which is why he did not easily drop his team even after the victory in Miami.

Red Bull still suffers from minor problems here and there. Verstappen was genuinely worried that his weekend would be irreparably compromised by “terrible” Friday, when a gear change as a precaution led to a late start in FP2, and an incorrectly installed hydraulic line then cut him off.

Teammate Sergio Perez felt he had lost a probable podium due to a sensor problem that cost him engine power in the middle of the race and said it was not fully resolved later, costing him an estimated 10km / h on the flat.

“We still have a few problems we need to solve,” Verstappen said after the race.

“We’re fast, but as you can see, my Friday was awful, which isn’t great if you want to have a good weekend. And Checo had a few problems in the race, so we have to be on top of that.

“Clearly it has a lot of potential, we just need to make sure it’s reliable.”

This was Verstappen’s mantra of Red Bull’s shock double DNF at the end of the Sakhir Grand Prix opening season.

There have been some hints that some reluctance has crept in on the side of the powertrain with the new arrangement with Honda which actually now makes it a contracted supplier after its official exit in late 2021.

Even if that’s the case, Red Bull itself has also contributed to its problems: it didn’t run cars on testing in a way that identified the Bahrain fuel system problem and the finger problem that seems to have caused Verstappen’s problem at Friday’s training in Miami . .

Verstappen could be accused of complaining as his post-race complaints related to hypothetical problems that did not arise, such as pointing out the lack of mileage on Friday meant he didn’t work out in any training so he had no idea what to expect in the first round.

Another way of looking at it is that he knows Red Bull has to meet high standards and he obviously believes the team is not successful.

Max Verstappen Red Bull F1

Verstappen knows that throwing points is bad. Having now triumphed in an ultra-close title fight, he also knows it all threatens throwing points is also a big problem – when things that should be under the control of the team.

Returning to the topic of reliability and imperfection after winning the Grand Prix showed that Verstappen’s irritation earlier in the weekend was not just a matter of emotional reaction to things not going well. That he had the same attitude after things started brilliantly should show how seriously he takes it.

Asked by The Race about small details that are a problem, not just unfinished business, Verstappen said: “Well, yes, it’s both, right? I had a lot of problems on Friday, which jeopardizes your weekend, and especially the qualifications.

“Of course, everything was good in the race at the start, but it could have been the other way around. And then you can say like, ‘Well, honestly, because if you almost missed [the] all Friday, what can you do about it? ‘.

“We just have to achieve a really positive weekend without any problems. Sure, Imola, we had that, but it’s still a bit of a hit and too much of a miss.

Max Verstappen Red Bull F1

“We just have to make sure we are more reliable and more on top of things. But as you can see the car is fast. I am very happy about that.

“I mean, if you were slow and reliable, that’s probably not a good thing either.”

Perez described Red Bull’s mechanical diseases as “finding different problems” every time.

While there may not be a consistent flaw that undermines the RB18, the fact that there is a pattern of reliability issues suggests that there are ghosts in the machine – whether it’s literally in the car and engine, or in Red Bull processes.

“I don’t think the car is particularly fragile,” insisted Red Bull team boss Christian Horner.

“I think there were little things you would otherwise see on pre-season testing. They raised their heads only when we entered the season.

“It simply came to our notice then. But we work closely with HRC and they give us great support. I think we will smooth it out. “

If Red Bull doesn’t, they expected Verstappen’s discontent to surface quickly. The most painful problems have led him to play compensated at the beginning of this season and he knows that he cannot afford further problems that would disrupt his recovery.

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