Max Verstappen says the Oracle Red Bull Racing team need to put the disappointment of the Bahrain Grand Prix behind them as Formula 1 heads to Saudi Arabia for the second race of the season this weekend.
Verstappen was on course for a certain podium finish last weekend at the Bahrain International Circuit only to retire with just three laps to go with a mechanical issue, but the reigning World Champion knows the season is long and there will be chances to make amends.
The Dutchman also knows Red Bull have a competitive car in 2022, and he is eager to get back behind the wheel to attack at this weekend’s race at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit.
“Last weekend was a tough one for all of us to take, we win and lose as a team and we’ll come back stronger this week,” said Verstappen. “We have a good package and we were competitive in Bahrain, so there are positives to take from the weekend, and we have a very long season ahead – it’s only the first race.
“Looking ahead to Saudi, the track is still very new for us, last year the humidity was challenging and they’ve made some small adjustments to visibility in sector one so I’m curious to see how it’s going to be this time around.
“It’s a really quick track with high speed straights and this year the cars are slightly heavier so it’s going to be really interesting to see how they will perform. I’m really looking forward to it, it should be enjoyable!”
“I am confident in this Team” – Sergio Pérez
Team-mate Sergio Pérez admitted losing a podium position on the final lap in Bahrain was difficult to accept, but like Verstappen, he is keen to put that behind him and make amends by finishing inside the top three in Saudi Arabia.
The Mexican was running fourth before Verstappen’s retirement moved him up to third, but a fuel problem at the beginning of the final lap saw Pérez’s ending shut up heading into turn one, which pitched him into a race ending spin.
Pérez also feels the RB18 appears to be very competitive out of the box in 2022, and he hopes to put it to good use with a strong weekend in Saudi Arabia, although he is hoping for a cleaner race there this year compared to last when he was forced into retirement after contact with Charles Leclerc.
“I am looking forward to getting back in the car this weekend,” said Pérez. “Bahrain was difficult, I was one lap away from starting the season on the podium but I am confident in this Team and we will work together to overcome it.
“The positive thing is it’s a long season ahead, we have a quick car and I felt very competitive throughout the race. I am hoping to take that pace and utilise it from qualifying through to Sunday in Jeddah.
“Last season’s race there was crazy, it is a very challenging track and will be even more so in the new cars. Unfortunately, I didn’t finish the race in 2021 so I want a clean race and to show the full potential of this car.”