Max Verstappen is not happy with second in F1 Saudi Arabian GP as he notes backing off due to the vibrations similar to qualifying.
It wasn’t the perfect result that Red Bull’s Verstappen had in F1 Saudi Arabian GP but he made the most of the situation coming from 15th to second. A driveshaft problem curtailed his qualifying and he was certainly disappointed with the situation.
It wasn’t an easy start to his race either where it took him few laps to get the hang of it but once in the zone, he cleared everyone one by one until he arrived at the back of Sergio Perez. The Mexican didn’t let his guard down and maintained the pace.
The gap remained around five seconds as Verstappen started feeling similar vibrations as he did in qualifying. In this case, the driveshaft didn’t snap but held on. The Dutchman wasn’t too happy finishing second and having to slow down due to the issue.
“I think realistically with or without the Safety Car, I think P2 was the highest possible,” said Verstappen. “The beginning, the first few laps it was really hard to follow cars because of the street circuit, fast corners, the walls all very close, you get kind-of a tail wind effect. And the car’s a bit all over the place.
“So, after a few laps, it all started to settle in a bit better, and I could pick them off one by one. Then the pace was good. The Safety Car, of course, helped me a bit to get back in the race. But even with that and the restart you just lose too much time to Checo, for example. So, once I got into P2, it was quite a decent gap, let’s say like that, on a track where there’s not a lot of deg.
“So I tried to, of course, close the gap a bit. But then, at one point, I picked up again, these vibrations on the driveshaft, on the rear. The team couldn’t see anything, but I’m fairly sure there was something odd going on with the balance since the vibration started to kick in.
“So, at one point, I did the calculations, and I wouldn’t have been able to close that gap to the end with only 10 laps left. So, at one point it’s, I think, more important to just settle for second: not having an issue with the car. In qualifying it just went. It snapped. In the race, luckily, didn’t do that but it started to have a similar effect on the feeling of driving and what you could hear,” summed up Verstappen.
Despite the 2023 start being much better than 2022 and Red Bull being in a dominant position, the Dutchman reckons reliability needs to be sorted. Both the races the team did have minor troubles and they have also taken power unit parts along with gearbox.
“It’s not only about the pace of the car: we need to make sure we are reliable without any issues,” said Verstappen. “I mean, my first weekend was not very clean, because of just the big balance shift from testing to the race weekend, some other things which are going on in the background. And now again, after three positive practice sessions, where then of course, I have an issue in Qualifying.
“Of course, I recovered to second, which is good. And of course in general, the whole feeling in the team, everyone is happy but personally, I’m not happy. Because I’m not here to be second, especially when you are working very hard also back at the factory to make sure that you arrive here in a good state, and basically making sure that everything is spot on.
“And then yeah, you have to do a recovery race, which I like – I mean, I don’t mind doing it – but when you’re fighting for a Championship and especially, you know, when it looks like it’s just between two cars, we have to make sure that also the two cars are reliable,” summed up Verstappen.
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