Verstappen drops out in second position in Australia
Max Verstappen has already missed the finish line in Formula 1 for the second time this season. The world champion dropped out of the Australian Grand Prix after 38 laps, finishing second behind Charles Leclerc. A similar situation happened to Verstappen in the opening race in Bahrain.
The engine in the Red Bull car failed after 38 of the 58 laps. Verstappen was already well behind the leading Ferrari driver Leclerc at that time. Shortly before that, Verstappen set the fastest race lap.
The Dutch driver won the Grand Prix of Saudi Arabia two weeks ago, after a long and fierce battle with Leclerc. Verstappen had the chance in Australia to push through to second place in the World Cup standings, because Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz retired early. The Spaniard finished second in Bahrain and third in Saudi Arabia, and was 25 points ahead of Verstappen in the standings with 33 points.
The Red Bull driver did not have the speed on the Albert Park Circuit to fight World Cup leader Leclerc. The Monégasque had trumped Verstappen in qualifying for pole position and quickly pulled away from the start of the race. The safety car took to the track twice, after Sainz retired and after a crash by Aston Martin driver Sebastian Vettel, but Leclerc did not run into problems after both restarts. Verstappen did try again after the second restart, but Leclerc defended his leading position and then drove away from Verstappen.
Verstappen retired three times last season. In Azerbaijan he suffered a blowout in the leading position, and at Silverstone and Monza the Dutch driver ended up in the gravel after a collision with his rival Lewis Hamilton.
Reporting by ANP.