Red Bull’s opening race of 2022 was a complete bust, with the team suffering a double DNF in Bahrain. But Max Verstappen has warned that the bulls are ready to kick back stronger in Jeddah.
Verstappen looked set to challenge race leader Charles Leclerc in the closing stages of last Sunday’s race, thanks to a late safety car.
But it wasn’t to be for the Dutchman who had to contend with several issues during his race before he was sidelined with four laps to go by a fuel pick-up issue.
Alas, the same fate befell his teammate Sergio Perez who retired on the penultimate lap while running third.
“Last weekend was a tough one for all of us to take, we win and lose as a team and we’ll come back stronger this week,” said Verstappen in Red Bull’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix preview.
“We have a good package and we were competitive in Bahrain, so there are positives to take from the weekend, and we have a very long season ahead – it’s only the first race.”
Verstappen reckons that Jeddah’s high-speed layout should will provide drivers with a few challenges but also with an enjoyable experience.
“Looking ahead to Saudi, the track is still very new for us, last year the humidity was challenging and they’ve made some small adjustments to visibility in sector one so I’m curious to see how it’s going to be this time around,” said the reigning world champion.
“It’s a really quick track with high speed straights and this year the cars are slightly heavier so it’s going to be really interesting to see how they will perform. I’m really looking forward to it, it should be enjoyable!”
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Perez was understandingly gutted by his late demise in Bahrain while a podium finish was in sight. But like his teammate, the Mexican heads to Saudi Arabia determined to make up for the heavy loss.
“Bahrain was difficult, I was one lap away from starting the season on the podium but I am confident in this Team and we will work together to overcome it,” he said.
“The positive thing is it’s a long season ahead, we have a quick car and I felt very competitive throughout the race.
“I am hoping to take that pace and utilise it from qualifying through to Sunday in Jeddah.
“Last season’s race there was crazy, it is a very challenging track and will be even more so in the new cars.
“Unfortunately, I didn’t finish the race in 2021 so I want a clean race and to show the full potential of this car.”
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