Red Bull boss' brutal swipe at Max Verstappen after Aussie drama

Max Verstappen's F1 title defence has gotten off to a difficult start.
Max Verstappen has been pushing too hard in the early stages of the 2022 F1 season, Red Bull believe. (Photo by WILLIAM WEST/AFP via Getty Images) (AFP via Getty Images)

Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko has chided his reigning world champion driver Max Verstappen for pressing too hard in qualifying after a disappointing Australian GP.

Verstappen broke through to win his first F1 world championship last season, prompting some hope within Red Bull that the 24-year-old would be able to use the confidence gained from his title to become one of the sport's top qualifiers.

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While the Dutchman's in-race prowess has been formidable from day one, his qualifying pace remains as perhaps the only key weakness in Verstappen's armour.

Despite making his debut for Red Bull in 2016, it took Verstappen until the 2019 season to earn his first pole position.

He has since gone on to start from pole a further 12 times, however his single-lap pace driving under the overhauled F1 regulations for this year have left a little to be desired, according to Marko.

Ferrari's Charles Leclerc has twice started from pole in the first three grands prix, winning both times, while Verstappen was outqualified by Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez in the other.

Speaking to, Marko said Verstappen had to rediscover the balance between all out attack and extracting the full potential of the car. 

“He goes over the limit, he wants too much,” Marko said.

“That didn’t work out (in Melbourne) in the last sector.

“We thought that with the World Championship title there would be some calmness from him, but he probably needs another title so that he doesn’t go into qualifying with so much pressure.”

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Verstappen endured a difficult weekend in Australia, outqualified by both Leclerc and Perez again before a power unit problem brought his race to a premature end.

It's the second DNF in three races for Verstappen, who sits sixth in the drivers' standings despite his victory in the Saudi Arabian GP.

He said he had found it difficult to come to grips with the Red Bull on the technical Albert Park circuit.

“I didn’t really feel good in the car the whole weekend,” he said.

“I think there’s not been one lap when I actually felt confident, so a bit of a struggle.

“Of course, second is still a good result, but just not feeling that great to go to the limit.

"We’ll try to analyse it. For me this weekend so far it’s been all over the place. I think also as a team we want more.”

Engine issues causes a second F1 retirement in three races for Max Verstappen at the Australian GP.
Max Verstappen retired from second place in the Australian GP, with his Red Bull once again suffering mechanical issues. (Photo by WILLIAM WEST/AFP via Getty Images) (AFP via Getty Images)

The F1 series will now shift to Italy, for the Emiglia Romagna GP at the famous Imola circuit.

Verstappen has acknowledged he already has a hefty hill to climb in order to get his championship defence back on track, with Ferrari's Leclerc leading the championship with 71 points from three races.

Trailing in sixth place and 25 points, Verstappen is hopeful Red Bull can eliminate the technical problems which have plagued the early running of their season.

"We are already so far down in the championship that from now onwards basically you first need to be faster than them (Ferrari), which we're not, and zero problems with the car which we also don't have," said Verstappen.

"So it's going to be a big task."

With AAP

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