Max Verstappen has said it is not yet clear how Red Bull will solve their issues, be it their troublesome reliability or otherwise.
The World Champion retired for the second time in the first three races of the season with a reported fuel leak from his power unit, having been running P2 behind Charles Leclerc in Australia.
While the RB18 has shown itself to be relatively unreliable, team boss Christian Horner pointed out he would rather toughen up a fast car than try to make a slower one catch up to the rest of the pack.
Verstappen said after his race ended it was both “frustrating and unacceptable” that this should be the case, and does not yet know how these problems can be resolved – with hard work required from the team to put it right.
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“We have retirements. I’m not happy with the balance of the car,” Verstappen told reporters after the race, quoted by Bild. “There are a lot of things to work on. There is no clear solution. So we all have to keep working hard.
“Reliability is not as expected. Neither is the balance. On top of that, we really struggled with the tyres in the race. I’m frustrated, of course, but there’s nothing to be done right now.”
Although Verstappen was running second, Leclerc‘s Ferrari was in dominant form in the race at Albert Park, and the Dutchman believes his team are “already so far behind” the Scuderia in more ways than one.
With his DNFs, Verstappen has retired from positions worth at least 36 points, while Leclerc on the other hand has scored more points as a single driver than the combined totals of any other constructor outside of Ferrari.
The reigning champion made no bones about what needs to be done to get back into the mix.
“If you want to fight for the title, you have to be ahead of Ferrari,” he said. “And they are ahead of us in many ways. We are already so far behind. We need to be faster and more reliable. We are not both of those things right now.
“I’ll just do my best again in the next race. But of course we are very far behind in the championship standings.
“I’m not thinking about the title fight right now, I just want to finish races and try to win them. But today was another bad day.”
'Frustrating and unacceptable' race for Verstappen
Max Verstappen had his second retirement in three races and he wasn't happy, while Sergio Perez took P2 in Melbourne.