Max Verstappen has suggested that winning the Spanish Grand Prix despite the issues Red Bull had on Sunday was a sign that the team are excellent at responding to adversity.
Verstappen reportedly almost had to start from the pit lane on Sunday after the team spent a significant amount of time in the garage trying to fix his rear wing and get his fuel up to regulation temperature.
His DRS also worked only sporadically during the race as he was trying to get past George Russell, but he eventually executed a three-stop strategy to clear the Briton and pass team-mate Sergio Perez for the victory.
The one-two for Red Bull came after Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc suffered from a reliability issue, before Zhou Guanyu suffered the same fate in the Ferrari-powered Alfa Romeo.
There have also been a total of seven failures on the Honda manufactured Red Bull powertrains used by the Austrian outfit and their junior team AlphaTauri this year.
The reigning champion thinks this is strange as the engines, asides from the fuel mixture, have not really changed this year compared to last season.
“It shouldn’t really be car related because like the engines and stuff are pretty much the same. Of course, the fuel has changed a little bit, but it’s a bit weird,” explained Verstappen.
“Also from our side, of course, we had already two retirements where before we were always really strong on reliability. It’s a bit difficult to tell, it’s also not major issues that we had.
“I don’t know about Ferrari, but from our side, it’s little things and we are trying to be on top of that, but I don’t think it’s specifically car related.”
Verstappen said he was pressing his DRS button “50 times” on the straight to try and get it to work but, in his frustration, sometimes ended up closing the flap as soon as he had opened it.
Dr Helmut Marko, adviser at Red Bull, has confirmed that the issue will be fixed after the team tried a lightweight system on the car, but it mattered little in Barcelona as the 24-year-old still picked up the win.
The capacity to experience these troubles is something that Verstappen appreciates from his team.
“That issue with the DRS, of course, was quite costly but at the end we still won the race, so as a team we are quite flexible,” he added.
“We adapt quickly if we have issues and we try to work around it, even during the race, so that’s good. But, yeah, of course, we tried to make sure that that doesn’t happen again, but we didn’t retire which other teams did.
“So that’s already a good improvement and you can see, it completely swings the championship around again.”
The Dutchman’s win also came after a mistake at Turn Four that had put him behind Russell and Perez, and he admits that they must collectively try and phase out these errors.
“So from our side we just have to try and be really consistent and try not to make too many mistakes,” added Verstappen.
“I mean, you’re not a robot, mistakes will happen. But yeah, we’ll try to minimise it.”
Verstappen’s 24th career win in Spain gives him a six-point lead in the Drivers’ Championship over Leclerc.