Hakkinen: Red Bull can't afford 'constant' technical failures

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Two-time F1 world champion Mika Hakkinen says the frustration expressed by Max Verstappen after his retirement in Melbourne was justified, as a title contender can't suffer "constant" technical failures.

In Australia, for the second time in three races, Verstappen did not see the checkered flag, but through no fault of his own.

In Bahrain, the Dutchman was sidelined late in the race when he was running second by a fuel pump issue, while Red Bull has yet to reveal the cause of Verstappen's DNF in Australia.

F1's reigning world champion now sits P6 in the Drivers' standings, or 46 points behind leader Charles Leclerc who conquered last Sunday his second win of the 2022 season.

In his traditional post-race column for Unibet, Hakkinen was sympathetic to Verstappen's plight but the Finn was also mightily impressed with Leclerc's performance.

Charles Leclerc (MON) Ferrari F1-75 and Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing RB18 battle for the lead of the race. 10.04.2022. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 3, Australian Grand Prix, Albert Park, Melbourne

"There is so much to take away from this race," Hakkinen wrote.

"Charles Leclerc was in complete control and said afterwards that the car felt really strong, using its tyres well and giving him a really consistent performance.

"That's what any top driver wants - a car that's quick from the start to finish and responding to all your inputs.

"What's important is that Charles has taken two wins and a second place from these first three Grands Prix, while Max Verstappen has had one win and two non-finishes.

"At this level you cannot afford to have constant technical failures. Max will not be happy."

Indeed, a glum Verstappen publicly labeled his retirement at Albert Park as "unacceptable", later adding that given Red Bull's lack of reliability and his deficit in the championship, he had "no reason to believe" in the 2022 title.

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner shared his driver's disappointment although the Briton preferred to focus in priority on the fact that his team has a competitive package.

"I'd rather fix a fast car than try and make a reliable, slow one fast," Horner told Sky Sports.

"[But] we need to get on top of it. We can't accept DNFs. We need to understand what the issue is, and we've got to address it."

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