Max Verstappen reacts to shocking Australian Grand Prix retirement ending winning streak

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Red Bulls Max Verstappen celebrates after winning the race in Formula One Canadian Grand Prix at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Montreal, Canada on June 18, 2023. — Reuters
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen celebrates after winning the race in Formula One Canadian Grand Prix at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Montreal, Canada on June 18, 2023. — Reuters

Formula 1 star Max Verstappen has explained the “really weird” issue that led his Red Bull car to catch fire just four laps into the Australian Grand Prix which cost him his winning streak.

According to the Mirror, despite starting on pole and aiming for a 10th consecutive F1 race win, the Dutchman’s afternoon began to unravel as soon as the Grand Prix began.

Verstappen made a mistake heading into Turn Eight on the second lap and it didn’t take long for him to realise that his vehicle had a serious issue, giving Carlos Sainz the lead.

The 26-year-old world champion’s Red Bull suffered significant damage to its rear-right tyre, resulting in smoke coming out and flames erupting from the tyre.

Max Verstappen foced to retire from Australian Grand Prix after an unprecented vehicle issue. — YouTube/F1Fever

The damage resulted in a significant loss of time and Verstappen was forced to retire from the race just five laps in.

Red Bulls Max Verstappen returns to the pit stop after retiring from the race due to fire during Formula One Australian Grand Prix at Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit, Melbourne, Australia on March 24, 2024. — Reuters
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen returns to the pit stop after retiring from the race due to fire during Formula One Australian Grand Prix at Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit, Melbourne, Australia on March 24, 2024. — Reuters  

He was visibly annoyed and rushed to the media pen to explain the situation.

He said: “We could see in the data and as soon as the lights went off the right-rear brake just stuck on and, of course, the damage kept on increasing. I was basically driving with the handbrake on. That’s why the car felt really weird to drive in some corners, really snappy.

“On the laps to the grid the car was spot on and I was really happy with what we were doing, but if a brake is stuck on, that doesn’t help. It’s too early [to know what went wrong], they will investigate.”

Additionally, Lewis Hamilton, a seven-time F1 World Drivers’ Champion, also retired from his Grand Prix prematurely due to an engine failure, confirmed by a Mercedes spokesperson as a power unit problem.

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