Max Verstappen’s car being investigated for ‘strange behaviour’

Max Verstappen went third fastest during FP1 ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Pre-season testing in Bahrain went almost flawlessly for Red Bull Racing last week, with the team topping the timing screens across all three days of the event.

The team did experience some ‘little gremlins’ however, with the RB19 struggling slightly in certain corners on the odd occasion.

Heading into the Bahrain Grand Prix, Max Verstappen and Red Bull are the clear favourites for the race but free practice did not get off to the best of starts for the Dutchman.

Verstappen only managed to go third fastest in FP1, behind Fernando Alonso in the Aston Martin and his teammate Sergio Perez.

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Red Bull chief advisor Helmut Marko has now revealed that the 25-year-old’s car was behaving strangely in the slow corners, hindering his performance.

“According to Helmut Marko, they are investigating Max Verstappen’s car for strange behaviour,” tweeted Victor Abad.

“Both he and Checo had the same setup, but in slow corners, according to them, the difference is noticeable.”

Verstappen came on the team radio during FP1 to tell his race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase that “the car doesn’t behave like it did in pre-season,” causing alarm bells to ring in the ears of the Red Bull mechanics.

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It is not clear what exactly was causing Verstappen’s car to act strangely during FP1 but it seems that Red Bull have quickly fixed the issue, as Verstappen finished the FP2 session in the afternoon as the fastest car on track.

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Heading into the Bahrain Grand Prix, Red Bull will be hoping for a better start to the season than last year, when the experienced a double DNF very late on in the race.

Verstappen and Perez were joined in the top three by Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso during Friday’s practice session, with the legendary Spaniard threatening to cause an upset at the start of the new season.

As well as Aston Martin, Ferrari and Mercedes will be hoping to challenge at the top in 2023, meaning that this season could be one of the most competitive that fans have been treated to for a while.