Formula 1: Red Bulls stress with the double victory

Six races are over and the reigning world champion has also taken the lead in the world championship for the first time: Thanks to his third win in a row, Max Verstappen (Red Bull) is now six points ahead of his Ferrari rival Charles Leclerc, who was in the lead with an engine defect.
The season statistics show: If Verstappen finishes in 2022, he will be at the top of the podium. What’s more: Red Bull is again really fast on the aerodynamically demanding Barcelona circuit. “When we had free driving and full engine power, we were the fastest cars in the field,” explains chief motorsport advisor Helmut Marko, who also concedes: “Nevertheless, we were lucky that Leclerc retired.”

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Because despite the second double victory this season after Imola, not everything went smoothly in the Austrian camp. The DRS system (adjustable rear wing) on ​​Max Verstappen’s RB18 went on strike, which is why the Dutchman bit his teeth on George Russell’s Mercedes.

The world champion was even really annoyed on the pit radio, complaining loudly: “We are not even able to get DRS to work.” Verstappen’s rage had consequences: “In his justified anger, Max always pressed the DRS button x times pressed,” reveals Marko. “We then told him to stay calm and only push when the car is straight again and not on the curbs.”

Perez had to wave through Verstappen, whose tactics were rescheduled to a three-stop strategy after slipping into the gravel trap.

The reason for the surprising defect in the folding rear spoiler is a weight reduction, which was only made on Verstappen’s Red Bull. “At the pace of development, we can’t do everything for two cars at the same time,” admits the man from Graz. “It’s a balancing act, but when you have too much weight, you have to start making parts lighter. A limit has been crossed. Then parts bend or no longer have the rigidity.”

Alone: ​​Verstappen’s DRS dilemma shows once again who is the clear number one in the team. That bothers even the otherwise submissive team player Sergio Perez. The Mexican had to wave Verstappen through, whose tactics were rescheduled to a three-stop strategy after slipping into the gravel trap.

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“I was supposed to get the position I gave Max back later,” complains Perez, who had also complained on the pit radio. “But I haven’t. Then also the change to faster three stops at Max.

We have to discuss internally that this continues fairly.”

Helmut Marko does not see his number two as clearly disadvantaged. “The two were on different strategies,” explains the doctor of law. “It was clear that Checo would not be able to finish with its set of tyres. It was obvious that Max was the faster. We switched to three stops due to Max’s DRS error because we saw that he couldn’t get past Russell otherwise. Two stops were planned with Checo. But at the end we gave him soft tires so that he could set the fastest lap. It’s understandable that he’s upset about the situation: he has victory in mind. Nobody says ‘yes please, drive over’. Otherwise he wouldn’t be a real racing driver.”

Despite the current run, Red Bull can’t use internal team quarrels, and the racing team management knows that. Marko: “The fight with Ferrari continues, Mercedes is getting closer, at some point they will be able to drive at the front on their own.”

The first thing to do for the next race next weekend at the Monaco GP is to fix the DRS defect. “We know where the problem lies,” says Marko, “and now have four days and 24 hours to work on it.” Because the World Cup has only just really begun.

The Austrian therefore demands: “In the future we have to make everything a little less stressful and work even harder. Leclerc is known to be super fast in Monaco because it’s his home. Then it will be a question of who is in front, because overtaking is practically impossible.” Then a problem with the DRS is not so bad.

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In 2022, Formula 1 will run on Sky. Last year, the broadcaster introduced a new TV channel especially for the premier class: Sky Formula 1. Here there is motorsport 24 hours a day. All practice sessions, all qualifying sessions, all races are always live and without commercial breaks. In addition, Sky also broadcasts the support races Formula 2, Formula 3 and the Porsche Supercup. Historical races and special programs are also on the programme.

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