Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Hungaroring, 2022

Verstappen’s qualifying power unit was three laps from race day failure – Horner

2022 Hungarian Grand Prix

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The power unit problem which spoiled Max Verstappen’s qualifying effort on Saturday spared him a failure which would have put him out of Sunday’s race, Red Bull has revealed.

Verstappen started the race from 10th on the grid after a problem developed with his power unit in qualifying. Red Bull changed it before the race, and discovered it was on the point of failure.

“We changed the power unit because there’s a component that broke in Max’s car yesterday,” Horner explained. “Thankfully, sitting here now with 20-20 hindsight, we’re grateful that it did break yesterday because another 12 kilometres it would have broken on the way to the grid.

“So we elected to change the whole power unit rather than try and repair in the field. And as a precaution, we also changed Checo’s.”

Verstappen encountered another problem with his car during the race, which he discussed with race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase on the radio. Horner said Verstappen’s clutch began causing trouble.

“[We had] a clutch issue early in the race on Max’s car that he was managing,” he explained. “The temperatures were getting a little out of control.

“So that was why we held him off the back of Carlos Sainz for a while, particularly after the first stop. But thereafter once we released him and got the clutch issue under control, he had tremendous pace today.”

Horner said the team “never” expected a victory would be possible after their drivers qualified 10th and 11th at the Hungaroring, where overtaking is often difficult.

“At this circuit, our pre-race analysis was showing that if everything went right, fifth and sixth might be achievable,” he said. “So to win from 10th on the grid is beyond all our expectations.”

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2022 Hungarian Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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9 comments on “Verstappen’s qualifying power unit was three laps from race day failure – Horner”

  1. #blessed

  2. Scotty (@rockonscotty)
    31st July 2022, 20:02

    It’s the breaks like this that will make sure its maX2 at the end of the year.

  3. Max will probably never get the luxury of Mercedes power units had for reliability, for what? over a decade now? I only remember Lewis getting that bad luck with PU in 2016.
    3 more years with a non-perfected Honda then potentially another 3 years settle in period with Porsche.
    On the upside, Red Bull seemed to have poached another Mercedes engine guy.

    1. Actually, the Honda units were very reliable last year, I don’t think Max was expected to take a 4th unit (and penalty) based on wear. He lost two PUs due to crashes, including a brand new one that was damaged from Bottas. Otherwise, they would have been fine with their allocation.

      Even this year, they haven’t had a PU issue on Red Bull until this race, there was also a sensor issue on Checo’s car in an earlier race, but the sensor is an F1 allocated part, not Honda. None of their early DNFs this year were directly tied to the PU.

    2. 2016 wasn’t just bad luck because it became apparent the Hamilton pit was running very thin oil for extra performance.

    3. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
      1st August 2022, 9:02

      On the upside, Red Bull seemed to have poached another Mercedes engine guy.

      ORBRPT are continuing as if they don’t expect to get an engine from Porsche. There will be 2 engines to choose from and maybe ORBR will dump Porsche in favour of their own efforts or ex Mercs efforts!

    4. I recall Rosberg’s Mercedes PU was smoking during 2015 which effectively ended his championship winning chance, no? From your statement people would’ve thought Mercedes PU only failed once at 2016, but in fact the ending of 2020 there are already issues suffered and Perez’s Racing Point was especially prone to failure. Last year’s “abnormal noise” on the ICE also triggered multiple replacement, but some might argue they are running spicy mode…

    5. Did you just conveniently forget the bad luck Hamilton had with his PU last year that probably cost him the title. He had to use one more ICE than Verstappen. Also worth noting that Hamilton is always looking to conserve his car where possible and hence part of the good reliability Mercedes has had is due to them being able to use some of their chassis advantage to reduce the load on the power unit when possible.

    6. Porsche is probably rebadging.

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