Revealed: Red Bull were concerned about Max Verstappen reliability ahead of Saudi GP

Max Verstappen failed to set a lap time during Q2 in Jeddah due to a driveshaft failure.

With the first two rounds of the 2023 season now complete, it appears that the only thing that can stop Red Bull is themselves.

Both Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez were forced to monitor an issue towards the end of the Bahrain Grand Prix and the team’s issues continued in Saudi Arabia.

Ahead of Saturday’s qualifying session, Red Bull decided to change Max Verstappen’s gearbox to give him the best possible chance of securing pole position.

The Dutchman was however unable to set a lap time in Q2, as a driveshaft issue forced Verstappen to retire from qualifying.

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Ahead of the Grand Prix, Red Bull were then forced to change a number of components, with the team deciding to put the gearbox that Verstappen used on Friday back into the RB19.

Red Bull also decide to change the left and right-hand side suspension including driveshafts ahead of the race.

Even after all of these changes, the race was not plain sailing for Verstappen who impressively recovered from his P15 start to finish in P2, behind his teammate Sergio Perez.

Towards the latter stages of the race, Verstappen began to report concerns over his driveshaft to his race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase.

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The Dutchman told his team that there was a high-pitched sound coming from his car when he was driving at high speeds, becoming increasing more alarmed as the issue persisted.

As it turned out, the issue did not hinder Verstappen as he was able to finish the Grand Prix a fair distance ahead of Fernando Alonso in third place.

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The 25-year-old even managed to set the fastest lap of the race on the final lap, ensuring that he stays ahead of Sergio Perez in the drivers’ championship by a single point.

Heading into the Australian Grand Prix in two weeks’ time, Verstappen will be hoping to return to winning ways and begin to build up a lead ahead of his teammate in the drivers’ championships.

With Red Bull looking head and shoulders ahead of their rivals, Verstappen will be hoping to create some breathing space between himself and his teammate to wrap up his third title as soon as possible.