Angry Verstappen calls Red Bull retirements 'unacceptable'

© XPB 

Max Verstappen cast a dejected figure after Sunday's Australian Grand Prix after suffering his second retirement of the season while his direct championship rival Charles Leclerc savoured the joys of victory in Melbourne.

The Red Bull charger retired with 20 laps to go when a sudden engine-related issue forced him to pull off the track.

Up until his unfortunate exit, Verstappen had been running in the wake of Ferrari's Leclerc but had been unable to get close enough to mount an attack on the race leader.

The Dutchman - who now sits 46 points behind Leclerc in F1's Drivers' standings - viewed the DNF as another heavy loss that has already put Red Bull "miles behind".

"We're already miles behind, so I don't even want to think about a championship fight at the moment," a glum Verstappen told Sky F1.

"I think it is more important to finish races. I mean, today was, in general, just a bad day again, not really having the pace, so I was just managing my tyres to try and just bring it to the end.

"It looked like quite an easy P2 anyway, and I knew I could not fight Charles, so there was no point to try and put pressure on him.

"But we didn't even finish the race, so it's pretty frustrating and unacceptable."

After Sunday's race, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner suggested that Verstappen's sudden engine shutdown had perhaps been caused by a fuel issue.

But Red Bull also undertook ahead of the race several changes to the Dutchman's car in Parc Fermé which included swapping an auxiliary radiator, a clutch actuator and the gearbox hydraulic system, indicating that there was perhaps cause for concern in the bulls camp ahead of the race.

"I knew there was a problem, so it was always going to be a question mark of finishing the race," admitted Verstappen.

"I mean, these kinds of things, if you want to fight for the title, cannot happen."

Horner was sympathetic to Verstappen's plight and fully understood his frustration.

"It is totally understandable his frustration," he said. "That was a really, really disappointing result not to finish the race.

"We don't know what the issue is yet, but I don't think it's actually engine related. I think it might be a fuel issue, but we need to get the car back, we need to be able to look at what's exactly happened."

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter