Verstappen critical of 'turtle' Aston Martin Safety Car

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Max Verstappen wants F1 to speed up its slow as "a turtle" Aston Martin Safety Car, as the Red Bull driver and his colleagues struggled to heat up their tyres in Sunday's Australian Grand Prix.

F1's Safety Car was called into action twice in Melbourne following an off-track excursion by Carlos Sainz on the second lap of the race and a crash by Sebastian Vettel on lap 23.

Verstappen was positioned in second place behind future race leader Charles Leclerc on both restarts, but the Dutchman was critical of the Aston Martin Safety Car's pace as he struggled bring his hard tyres up to temperature.

"There's so little grip and also the safety car was driving so slow, it was like a turtle. Unbelievable," said Verstappen who retired in Melbourne.

"To drive 140 [km/h] on the back straight, there was not a damaged car, so I don't understand why we have to drive so slowly. We have to investigate!"

Up until last season, F1 relied exclusively on Mercedes to supply its Safety Car, but a commercial agreement signed last year with Aston Martin led to the two manufacturers splitting Safety Car duties over F1's 23-race schedule.

Mercedes' 730bhp AMG GT car which was used in Bahrain and in Saudi Arabia generated no complaints.

But Aston's less powerful 4.0L twin-turbo V8 Vantage that produces 528bhp is a laggard compared to its Mercedes counterpart according to Verstappen.

"For sure the Mercedes safety car is faster because of the extra aero, because this Aston Martin is really slow. It definitely needs more grip, because our tyres were stone cold," added the reigning world champion.

"It's pretty terrible the way we are driving behind the safety car at the moment."

Leclerc shared his rival's view, but the Ferrari driver admitted that Safety Car driver Bernd Maylander appeared to be doing his best behind the wheel of the Aston which dissuaded him from complaining.

"To be honest it always feels too slow in the car because with those Formula 1 cars, we have so much grip and it's very, very difficult, especially on the compound we were all on, which was the hards," said the Aussie GP winner.

"I was struggling massively to put some temperature in them, so I also struggled.

"To be honest, I wanted to complain, but then I checked how much the safety car was sliding in the corner and I don't think there was anything more that he could give so I didn't want to put too much pressure.

"For sure with the cars that we have now it's very difficult to keep the temperatures in the tyres behind the safety car."

Third-placed man George Russell unsurprisingly talked up his employer's product.

"We don't have the issue with the Mercedes-AMG safety car!," said the Briton.

"On a serious note, the Mercedes-AMG is like five seconds, a lot quicker, than the Aston Martin safety car, which is pretty substantial."

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