Ed Bull is confident he can win the title fight against Ferrari at the next race in Saudi Arabia, despite no car finishing the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix yesterday.
Defending champion Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez almost simultaneously suffered a fuel problem in the dramatic final moments of the race to give them a double DNF and leave them bottom of the constructors’ championship.
Despite the early setback after watching the strongest package on the grid in winter testing, Verstappen and team principal Christian Horner predicted the team would bounce back next weekend.
Verstappen said: “The rhythm is there. We fought for pole and we fought for victory. It’s not a big deal.
Verstappen sat in second place when he was forced into the pits with Perez in fourth, which equates to 30 points lost as Ferrari took a maximum of 34 points to lay down the gauntlet at the start of 2022.
Amid the points loss, Horner insisted he was still optimistic about the team’s chances when racing resumes in Jeddah.
“It’s a disappointing day but an encouraging performance,” he said. “We saw that Ferrari was fast but we have a very competitive car. Fighting for the win was encouraging.
“To lose a podium and a good points collection so close to the end of the races is always frustrating but it’s a long season, there are 23 races and we have a fast car.
Red Bull will spend the next few days trying to pinpoint the exact problem and ensure the team avoids another costly double retirement in race two.
Horner said the team must “understand the DNFs and address them in time for next week”, while Verstappen said reliability rather than pace will be key with the countdown to the next round of the 2022 championship He said: “The pace wasn’t quite what I was hoping for compared to Friday, but it’s the first race weekend and sometimes you don’t get the balance you want. We need to understand today’s issues and continuously work on the car to improve.
In addition to the fuel problem, Verstappen had steering problems, he was unable to push on his tires immediately after pit stops and was hampered by overheated brakes which eventually set him back at the start of the the fight for the lead with Leclerc. rounds 17 to 19.
Thanks to Red Bull’s failure to finish in Bahrain, Mercedes enjoyed a podium finish for Lewis Hamilton in third and fourth place for George Russell, who said he hoped the team found a quick solution to their problems. , which could catapult them forward. of the grid.
“If we unlock that performance, it will help everything,” he said. “We really hope that we can find this solution as soon as possible. We know this will answer a lot of our problems. We have a lot of work to do.