Verstappen power unit problem not serious as F1 championship leader stays calm about 10th-place start

By Sports Desk July 30, 2022

Max Verstappen felt he had the pace to at least qualify in the top three for the Hungarian Grand Prix and said an engine problem with his Red Bull was not serious.

Verstappen's team-mate Sergio Perez failed to make it out of Q2, qualifying 11th, and the championship leader will start 10th after a power unit issue on his out lap ahead of a second flying effort ended hopes of pole.

The Dutchman had looked ominously fast in Q2, having been behind the Ferraris in both of Friday's practice sessions.

However, he now has a recovery mission if he is to avoid nearest challenger Charles Leclerc eating heavily into his 63-point lead at the top of the drivers' championship at a Hungaroring circuit where it is notoriously difficult to overtake.

Leclerc will start third behind team-mate Carlos Sainz, who had appeared destined for pole until Mercedes' George Russell snatched it with a remarkable lap.

But Verstappen, having turned the air blue as he lost power, was composed when asked about his car's issues and the task ahead of him on Sunday.

He told Sky Sports: "I don't think it's a big issue but something we couldn't solve on track. It's very unfortunate.

"The turnaround from yesterday was amazing. There was a lot of analysing going to understand what was not really working that well yesterday.

"In a way, that's positive about today, we understood what went wrong and the car was so much better today in terms of handling on a track that doesn't really suit us.

"So that's a big positive for the rest of the year anyway that we can, even on a track where we're not that strong, be competitive, but of course I would have liked to start in the top three, and I definitely think we had the pace for it because even in Q2 we looked very strong.

"So yeah, good turnaround but unfortunately the little glitch we had makes us start 10th."

Asked about his prospects for the race and the choice between a one or two-stop strategy, Verstappen added: "It can be a tough one if you're stuck, I hope of course not too long. We have to just stay calm and wait for our moments to go forward.

"It [the strategy] depends also a bit on what is happening in front of you, behind you as well, so we just need to be on it and be flexible."

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    Sergio Perez and Kevin Magnussen both blame each other for the huge crash that forced a restart in the Monaco Grand Prix.

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    The Red Bull was destroyed during the incident, while the Dane’s Haas team-mate Nico Hulkenberg also got caught in the chaos.

    All three drivers were unharmed, though were ultimately forced out of the race when it restarted.

    Perez was adamant following the race that the blame should be placed firmly on Magnussen’s shoulders.

    He said: "It was an immense crash, one I'm disappointed about. I think it was totally unnecessary at that point of the race and there was no need for that.

    "At some point, you have two options: Lift or have a contact, and I think it was too unnecessary with the speeds we were doing, and it was a massive contact.

    "It was important to take things a little bit calmer."

    The incident compounded a disappointing weekend for both teams, in particularly Haas after both drivers were disqualified from qualifying and sent to the back of the grid due to a technical infringement.

    However, Magnussen stood by his belief he had every right to go for the gap and was forced into the barrier by the Mexican.

    "From my point of view, I had a good part of my front on Perez's rear and when he went to the wall I got pushed to the wall and made contact with him," Magnussen said.

    "I trusted he was going to leave space for me since I was there. It's not a corner where you're braking into it, it's a bend on the straight, so you have to have a car otherwise you leave the other guy no option.

    "From my point of view, I was there, and I got squeezed to the wall."

    Ultimately, neither driver was punished for the incident as the stewards deemed it a racing incident which needed no further investigation. 
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    The world number one failed to improve on his sixth-place start, after struggling to catch George Russell as he failed to finish on the podium for just the second time this season.

    Verstappen fared better than team-mate Sergio Perez though, as the Mexican was involved in a huge crash just seconds into the race, forcing him out of it after an already poor qualifying.

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    After the race, he said: "This has been a really tricky challenging weekend with a lot of damage [to Perez's car]. Probably a weekend to forget, but also one to learn a lot from.

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    "We finished where we started. The strategy got ruined with the red flag, so we had to back it up on the medium [tyre]. From lap one on the restart, it was driving four seconds off the pace. Just really, really boring.

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  • Monaco Grand Prix win a 'dream', says Leclerc Monaco Grand Prix win a 'dream', says Leclerc

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    "It means a lot, obviously. It's the race which made me dream of becoming a Formula 1 driver one day.

    "Fifteen laps to the end you're hoping nothing happens, and the emotions are coming.

    "My dad has given everything for me to be here, and it was a dream of ours for me to race here and win here, so it's unbelievable.

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    Piastri put in an assured drive to finish second, holding off Sainz to prevent a Ferrari one-two and was pleased with the way the race turned out.

    "Thanks to the team. It's been a great weekend all-round. Nice to put a result on the board. I've been strong the last few weekends but didn't have the result to show for it. Nice to have a podium," he said.

    "Charles has been mega all weekend. They have been quick from the very first lap.

    "I'm happy with P2. A good result for the team. Very, very happy."

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