Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Spa-Francorchamps, 2017

Verstappen ‘not a happy person’ after early Belgian GP retirement

2017 Belgian Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen admits he is ‘not a happy person’ after he was forced to retire from the Belgian Grand Prix after just seven laps.

In a race where thousands of Dutch fans had traveled over the border into Belgium to support him, Verstappen says he was disappointed to retire so early in the race.

“I’m just very disappointed,” says Verstappen. “Of course because I retired but also because of the fans who buy an expensive ticket to watch the race and then they see me retirement after eight laps.

“I said on the radio that I had no words. I think it is like that. In another way as well, for a top team, those things can’t happen. Of course in the beginning you can say bad luck, but this is not bad luck anymore. It’s just really bad at the moment.”

The retirement marked Verstappen’s sixth failure to finish in 12 races so far in 2017 and his fifth mechanical related DNF the season.

Verstappen was asked after the race how much longer the belief he has said he has in the Red Bull team will last.

“If it continues like this, not very long,” says Verstappen.

“We need to get on top of it. Of course we will always speak about it, but at the moment I’m not a happy person and looking forward to going back home.”

2017 Belgian Grand Prix

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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  • 51 comments on “Verstappen ‘not a happy person’ after early Belgian GP retirement”

    1. Won’t be surprised he talking about leaving the team to press soon. He along with Palmer has had too many DNFs due to faulty Renault PU.

      1. Strange that Palmer isnt talking about leaving the team then…

        Max probably would love to be in a better team right now but he also perfectly well understands that there are no better team available at the moment so he will go on doing what he can. I think hes quite cheerfull and positive given the cirumstances, Vettel clearly didnt keep his cool while in the same situation at RB.

        1. Vettel clearly didnt keep his cool while in the same situation at RB.

          The time Vettel didn’t quite keep his cool there seems to be a different situation, in my opinion.

          the part of VET’s RBR career I find similar to VES this year would be 2010, except it was not that bad – and he was still WDC anyway.

          1. @davidnotcoulthard 2014 wasnt a highlight of Vettels career

            1. @rethla something I 100% didn’t (mean to) contradict

        2. Saw the interview and Verstappen was quite calm about the whole situation. It was rather press pushing him to talk about leaving RBR. Vettel doesnt seem to keep cool even in Ferrari, not sure why Ferrari havent told him to keep quite as they do seem love their traditions and reputation. Palmer and Verstappen overall seem to be getting the worst of lot of Renault PU this season. At this point Verstappen has had 6 DNFs and all related to PU issues.

          1. and thats only the races, the number of failures is much higher. he also had them in FP’s and quali

          2. Erm, wrong. Two of his DNF’s were due to collisions. PU’s had nothing to do with those two.

          3. And another of his DNF’s was due to a brake failure. Nothing PU related either.

        3. well. Palmer has no leverage at all to complain. The moment he complains hell be replaced by Kubica or some other driver

      2. What’s he going to do? The only (remote) possibility is talking Toto and Niki into giving him Bottas’ seat, but I doubt that’s actually going to happen.

        Moving to Renault is completely off the table and Williams would be a similar step backwards (and impossible due to Williams’ Martini sponsorship and Lawrence Stroll’s involvement).

        1. true, right now both Alonso and Verstappen are in an uncertain situation. Both are good drivers and sadly they dont seem to be getting a good car under them to show their talent.

        2. It’s just frustration obviously. Indeed, he can’t go anywhere and RB wouldn’t let him go yet either.

          He’s young, he’ll recharge again.

      3. He is not talking about leaving. The press is.

    2. He’s just at the start of his F1 career, his time will come.

      1. So that makes it alright that he’s at the start of his F1 career and his engine fails 50% of the time? …What a clincher!

        1. No, but MV has to realize – in his cooler moments probably does – that everyone can see his talent and speed, he hasn’t much to prove, except for showing that he can put up with adversity without throwing his team under the bus. That will count more in the long run.

    3. It is reaching the point at which it seems so improbable for all the problems to be happening to Verstappen. I don’t buy people who say it’s down to aggressive driving, they’d have the data for that by now and he would be adjusting his style if that were it. It’s robbing us of some potentially great racing, and it’s making Ricciardo and Raikkonen look better than they actually should.

      1. I don’t buy people who say it’s down to aggressive driving

        Good because slavery is illegal.

        it’s making Ricciardo and Raikkonen look better than they actually should

        I’m very sure if you’ll trace deeply enough, you’ll see some interesting payments coming out of Finland and Australia to Jean Todt’s bank account.

        In all seriousness, it’s entirely possible that Max’ driving is pushing the driveability of the engine. Considering Max has incurred almost no penalties, they could also be fixing parts that should be replaced.

        If Alonso can miss out on Q3 because his engine thought he hadn’t completed a corner, perhaps Max’ designated PU’s have weird gremlins as well.

        1. I fail to see how its making Kimi look good.

          1. @rethla

            Max has been out driving Ricciardo but is behind due to reliability. Raikkonen is behind Ricciardo but ahead of Max. Without the reliability gremlins, and on just pure performance, I think Raikkonen belongs behind both Red Bull drivers. Which considering his team mate is leading the championship is shocking.

    4. Red Bull management has been quite adamant that Verstappen has a contract and that he isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. However one might wonder if RBR would be better off ditching him. Not because Verstappen is the cause of the reliability issues; those seem to be unrelated to his driving style. Not because of his qualities; he’s obviously quite skilled and talented. The reason is that the car is unlikely to finish a race, so it doesn’t really matter who is driving it as far as constructor points are concerned. Considering that Verstappen isn’t a pay-driver (i.e. he is costing money instead of bringing money in), RBR would be better off selling the seat to the highest bidder. I’m sure there are quite a few drivers with substantial backing that would like to have a go with the RBR.

        1. Kidding about what? Verstappen isn’t contributing to RBRs bottom line (that he is not to blame for that is irrelevant), a pay-driver obviously would. And yes, I do think that there are drivers (or more importantly their sponsors) willing pay for a RBR seat, even when the car is unreliable. From the financial point of view it would make more sense to have the likes of Stroll or Palmer in that seat; driver skills are irrelevant when the car cannot make it to the finish.

          1. Red Bull obviously never planned to have an unreliable car or could have predicted it when they signed their drivers, so it makes no sense at all to argue that they should have gone back in time to sign another driver. If anything it makes more sense to put a pay driver in Kvyat’s seat.

            1. I never suggested that RBR should travel back in time to change decisions they made in the past, that is just a figment of your imagination. However it is clear that RBR doesn’t have the reliability issue under control; those issues are not going away. Since it is unlikely Verstappen will make any significant contribution to the constructor championship points, RBR might as well put someone in that seat who is willing & able to pay for it, if not this year than next year. Stroll would be a good choice, not only for financial reasons, but also because
              chances are that Stroll would do at least as well if not better than Verstappen. After all Stroll got a podium in his first year in F1, something Verstappen failed to do in his first year.

          2. Of course, Red Bull really needs the money coming from a paid driver instead of the immense world-wide marketing effect of a driver like Verstappen….

            1. It is not good for marketing if your brand is associated with failure. They’d be better of with someone who has less exposure.

    5. So why’s no one accusing Max of saying his team is sabotaging his car like everyone did last year when Lewis said, “this is no longer bad luck, somebody doesn’t want me to win?”

      1. Because Max didn’t use those words. You are changing what he actually said.

        1. “For the 6th time, you can’t call it bad luck anymore”…. Max Verstappen.

          Not sure what I changed

          1. That’s exactly what he said, so he is inferring some extraneous cause. Everyone will then quickly leap to the idea of “sabotage” but there’s a different and more plausible connotation, and that is that Renault engineers, specifically the ones that oversee his components, are incompetent.

    6. Maybe he is overdriving and mistreating his car?

      1. Possibly, there is no way RBR would risk losing team points to favour DR. I’m sure some Verstappen fans are thinking that Dr is being given a leg up.

      2. @juanmelendezr1 That may be true, this discussion pops up on many forums. But can you break your engine by driving too fast, I mean in modern times with all the sensors?

        It’s also striking that Verstappen’s car/engine fails in the opening laps most of the time, whereas Hamilton had to drive 9 consecutive ‘qualifying laps’ to keep Vettel behind.

        1. @matthijs, There have been a fair few Renault power unit failures this season in the races asides from Verstappen – Ricciardo had a fuel pump failure in Australia, Palmer had an ignition failure in Baku, Kvyat had an electrical failure in Baku and Sainz had an engine failure in Austria.

          Verstappen was not the only driver with a Renault powered car who hit problems in Spa either – Kvyat had to change the entire power unit in his car after the first practise session, whilst Palmer also had an unplanned engine change between the second and third practise sessions. In the case of Verstappen, he’d already had to change his engine once this weekend after a sensor failure, and it is possible that a similar sensor problem may have caused his retirement in the race (Horner saying that it was either an ignition sensor or a spark plug failure which forced him to retire).

          At the moment, I think that the only Renault powered driver who hasn’t used a 4th engine this season is Hulkenberg – all of the other drivers are up to that level, and Ricciardo is already at the point where he has had to take a penalty for using too many components (he used a 5th MGU-H in Silverstone after he broke down in qualifying – though as he was at the back if the grid, it was a token penalty).

          Given that multiple drivers across different teams have had a wide range of issues, not just this weekend but also in previous races, that would seem to me to cast doubt that it is Verstappen’s driving style that is causing those failures. It looks more to me that, perhaps through random chance, a higher proportion of Verstappen’s problems have happened to occur in the races themselves, whilst a higher proportion of those failures for Ricciardo and some of the other Renault powered drivers just so happened to have occurred during the practise or qualifying sessions rather than the race.

          1. Anon, thank you for the reply. I agree, all Renault drivers suffer from failures, it’s just random chance whether the failure is in practice, qualifying or the race.

      3. This is nonsense if you know somethin about racing ask any racer. Ever thing has an limiter so overdriving the engine not possible.

        1. @macleod You mean like Alonso in Pouhon?

          1. That is one of the many ‘safety’ controls but as Alomso demostrated it went for it without re-charghing his battery and had not enough power to finish the lap.
            Those engines and systems are really high tech without good programming it works against you.

    7. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      27th August 2017, 21:24

      Lots of drivers do seem to have a year where they suffer way more reliability problems than their team mate. I’ll bring back Maldonado in 2015. Now, I know, most people have little respect for him but do you really think it was his driving style was responsible for him not crossing the finish line in any of the first 6 races? He was classified in one but had mechanical issues or was involved in an incident that was another drivers fault over all those races. And on 3 or 4 other races, he also retired. The only one I can remember him being responsible for was Spa but even that was unlucky. There may ahev been one more he was at fault for.

      Verstappen is unfortunately just experiencing a year of really bad luck. But drivers like Kvyat, Massa, Palmer and Alonso have been really unlucky this year too. This just sometimes happens to drivers and hopefully it won’t continue.

    8. I don’t get why it is always Max’s car that breaks down. 6 Times???
      Maybe they should swap engineers.

      It’s not the way to keep Max at RBR

      1. It can be just bad luck you know.

      2. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
        28th August 2017, 12:50

        Read my post above yours. Other drivers this year are also having very bad luck and plenty have had worse than Verstappen in previous years. As I said, Maldonado had loads of reliability problems even with Mercedes power in 2015. I don’t think any other driver that year had bad luck or reliability remotely close to as bad as what Maldonado suffered.

        Not all of Verstappen’s retirements are to do with a car that “breaks down”. In Spain, it was contact and in Austria, it was contact again although he did also have issues that may have lead to retiring anyway.

    9. Maybe Mercedes or Ferrari are paying a RBR engineer to screw up his car

    10. DANIEL Ricciardo is all about the love, but Max Verstappen is too focused on lust.

      That’s how the Aussie explained his Red Bull teammate’s driving style after the Dutchman failed to finish a race for the sixth time this season because of an engine failure at the Belgian Grand Prix.

      “I do a lot of things with my driving style which is very nice to the car. I actually talk to it a lot during the race. I massage it,” Ricciardo said in the post-race press conference.

      “I wouldn’t call it foreplay but it’s something like that and Max is young, he’s aggressive, he goes straight in!

      :) lol.

      1. Ricciardo had a very small smile after Q3. Max is faster for the 8th time at his specialty.

        Ricciardo drives like Alan Prost: always bringing the car home at the best possible position; taking advantage of opportunities and scoring the max amount of points. He is good at that.
        Very calculated. And he is fun.

        But Max looks like the faster driver and better racer.
        Mercedes and Ferrari are not waiting for Ricciardo in 2019.

    11. Verstappen will wait until mercedes or ferrari seat will be free, and he will jump, end of it. It’s safe to say that he will drive for RBR for 1-2 years until either Kimi or Bottas give their seats. He is at the best possible place to get his chance, and whoever gets him first will have new Senna for the next 10 years.

    12. On Dutch TV: it was a spark plug

      OMG fail

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