Max Verstappen says Red Bull still have “issues to solve” if they are to beat Ferrari and Charles Leclerc to this year’s Formula 1 titles, calling on his team to improve despite their back-to-back victories. Verstappen is for many now the favourite to defend his F1 crown this year after winning both the Emilia Romagna and Miami GPs in impressive fashion, comfortably outpacing Leclerc in the race on both occasions.
Those triumphs continue Verstappen’s record of having won every race he has finished this season, but the Dutchman, while embracing a fast car, is also concerned about the team’s reliability issues. Although it ultimately didn’t impact his finishing result, after Sunday’s race Verstappen highlighted his “terrible” disrupted Friday in Miami as he suffered with a hydraulic leak, following on from DNFs in Bahrain and Australia.
“We’re still having a few issues we have to solve,” said Verstappen, whose team-mate Sergio Perez had engine issues in the race. “We are quick, but my Friday was terrible… which is not great if you want to have a good weekend. “And also Checo had a few issues in the race, so we have to be on top of that. But clearly there is a lot of potential, we just need to make sure it’s reliable.”
Speaking to Sky Sports F1, Verstappen admitted his 2022 season should be “even better” and added: “We have to make sure these things don’t happen… of course, we are working on them flat out.” Verstappen had said after Saturday’s qualifying – where he only managed third – that Red Bull “cannot afford” to suffer more unreliability if they are going to overhaul Ferrari and Leclerc, whose title leads have been cut.
“We just have to nail down a really positive weekend without issues,” he continued. “I think of course, Imola, we had that, but it’s still a bit of a hit and miss too much. So we just have to make sure that we are more reliable and more on top of things. “But as you can see the car is quick. I’m very happy about that, I mean, if you would be slow and reliable, that’s probably also not a good thing!”
Verstappen didn’t have a reliability issue in the Miami GP, though team-mate Perez did. Perez suffered with engine gremlins through the race – causing him to lose power and perhaps costing him a chance of a win as he was stuck in fourth despite fitting fresh tyres after the Safety Car. “Of course reliability is going to be an issue,” Red Bull boss Christian Horner told Sky Sports F1.
“We had a sensor issue on Checo’s engine and the guys did well to move them around but he lost about 30 horsepower with that. “He was losing half a second a lap.” Horner, however, believes Red Bull are heading in the right direction – with their straight-line speed particularly impressive.
“We saw in Imola how quickly things can change around and we have some interesting races coming up and the car is running well,” he stated. “We have some developments coming later in the summer which will help, we need to drop some weight but generally, I think we are on a good trajectory.”