Christian Horner has downplayed Max Verstappen’s complaints about his out-lap after a disastrous start to the Formula 1 season in Bahrain.
The Red Bull driver struggled at the front of the grid for most of the race as he caused race winner and Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc plenty of trouble in the season opener.
Despite briefly taking the lead twice, Verstappen was plagued by technical issues throughout the race before he was forced to retire entirely due to a fuel pump problem.
Previously, the Dutchman was struggling with his tires and the Red Bull garage urged him to pit his tires “gently” which proved costly to Verstappen due to the time lost at Leclerc.
He raged over the radio, “Okay, that’s twice now that I took it easy on the out lap and could have been slightly ahead.
“I’ll never do that again!”
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But despite Verstappen’s opinion, Red Bull team boss Horner believes Ferrari probably would have come out on top anyway.
“I think it’s always a fine margin,” he told Sky F1.
“He felt like he could have done more and I think that combined with a slightly faster stop than the Ferrari put us very, very close to them.
“But I think even if we had made the pass, their pace was such that since overtaking is a bit easier now, they would have just overtaken.
“They just had a faster car, so congratulations to them on their one-two, zero points is tough for us.
“But I think the positive we can take away is that we had a competitive car, we were fighting for race wins at various points in this race.
“We need to get these issues under control quickly and it’s a long, long season, 23 races, we need to get this over with and focus on the next event.”
With Verstappen out of the race, Leclerc drove to victory and revealed after the race that he had pranked his teammates in the Ferrari garage, which didn’t go over too well.
“I made a little joke on the radio on the last lap and said there was something strange with the engine,” he told Sky Sports F1.
“And the engineers, I’m pretty sure, didn’t like that. But it was fun. I had that in mind for the last 10 or 15 laps of the race and hoped there weren’t any reliability issues.
“And then of course I see Max [Verstappen] When I had the issue, I was like, ‘Come on, please stay with me until the end,’ and it did, so it’s great.”
Attention now turns to this weekend’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, with Verstappen and Red Bull keen to pick up some points on the board.
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https://talksport.com/sport/motorsport/1068662/max-verstappen-red-bull-christian-horner-charles-leclerc-bahrain-grand-prix/ Christian Horner dismisses Max Verstappen’s lap grievances while Ferrari-winner Charles Leclerc explains a risky prank on the final lap of the Bahrain Grand Prix