Verstappen Reveals Reason Behind His Retirement From Australian Grand Prix

Sunday, 24 March 2024 at 08:15
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Max Verstappen, who had to retire from the 2024 Australian Grand Prix just after a few laps, explained the issue with his car to the media.
The triple World Champion started the race on Sunday from P1 after what Helmut Marko called "another flawless" performance during the qualifying session.
The Dutchman also had a smooth start, maintaining his lead throughout the first lap. However, he came on the team radio to say something was wrong with the rear of his car.
He then made a mistake, going into turn six on the second lap of the race, and was overtaken by Carlos Sainz. Just one lap after that, smoke started coming out of the back of his car.
The Dutchman then had to slow down as he tried to bring the car into the pit lane. Before he entered the pitlane, there seemed to be a small explosion on his right rear wheel, and it caught on fire.
His mechanics then extinguished the fire, but it was clear Verstappen's RB20 was going nowhere. The 26-year-old told Sky Sports:

"We can see so far in the data as soon as the lights went off, the rear brake just stuck on. The temperature kept on increasing. So it was also basically [like] driving with a handbrake on and that's why already I felt that the car was really weird to drive through some corners."

"It was just very snappy while the laps of the grid, the car was really spot on, I was very happy with what we were doing. But it explains that if a brake is stuck on, that doesn't help."

Verstappen's retirement from the race marks the end of his streak of nine consecutive race victories, which he started during the previous season and maintained throughout the first two races of 2024.
Funny enough, it was again Sainz who ended this streak as he won the Australian Grand Prix for Ferrari. On the other hand, the Dutchman still maintains the lead in the Championship. He told Viaplay:

"Yes, it is sad, but it remains a mechanical sport. These kinds of things can always happen, but it is a shame, because the chance to win was there today."