Max Verstappen hopes that Oracle Red Bull Racing can maintain their impressive gap to the chasing pack whilst ensuring their reliability is watertight after a problematic weekend in Saudi Arabia.
Verstappen was forced to start the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix from fifteenth on the grid after problems with his car during Qualifying left him unable to get on the front row, something that had looked near certain after he had topped all three free practice sessions.
He might have been able to fight back to finish second behind team-mate Sergio Pérez, and he maintained his advantage at the top of the Drivers’ Championship by grabbing the fastest lap bonus point on the final lap.
However, Verstappen is keen that reliability does not get in the way of Red Bull’s domination this season, particularly as he is always looking to be involved in the fight for victory as he bids to take a third consecutive World Drivers’ Championship.
“I hope (Red Bull can maintain the gap) for a long time,” Verstappen is quoted as saying by Racer.com. “But it’s not only about the pace of the car: we need to make sure we are reliable without any issues.
“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 (in Jeddah) where then of course, I have an issue in qualifying.
“Of course, I recovered to second, which is good. And 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 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 when it looks like it’s just between two cars, we have to make sure that also the two cars are reliable.”