Confusion at Red Bull over Verstappen’s ‘unexplained’ issues

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Helmut Marko believes Red Bull need to focus on the “unexplained” tyre issues which hampered Max Verstappen at the Austrian Grand Prix.

After converting pole position to a Sprint victory, Verstappen once again led from the front in the opening laps of Sunday’s main event.

It soon became clear that Verstappen would be unable to increase the gap to Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, who seemed to be more comfortable with tyre wear during the first stint.

With this new-found pace advantage, Leclerc took the lead of the race on Lap 13, with Verstappen unable to respond.

Both were on two-stop strategies, but with Leclerc’s pit-stops offset from Verstappen, the Monegasque was forced to pass the Dutchman a total of three times en route to victory.

Marko and Red Bull looking for answers

Verstappen was able to fight back when Leclerc developed a throttle-related issue, but the Ferrari driver’s advantage was too much to overcome.

Speaking to Sky Sport Germany after the race, Red Bull advisor Marko admitted that Verstappen’s discomfort on the first set of tyres was unexpected.

“After our superiority on Friday and Saturday, this came as a surprise. The tyre wear we had to deal with today, we can’t explain at the moment,” said Marko.

“Even more surprising was that with the last set of tyres we had a good pace, and the temperature and wear were also fine. So what was going on? I hope we can solve it.”

Despite Leclerc reducing the gap between himself and Verstappen in the Drivers’ Championship, the latter extended his overall lead in the standings from 34 points to 38.

Verstappen’s teammate, Sergio Perez, had mathematically been his nearest championship challenger before retiring from the race.



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