Max Verstappen given food for thought as Sebastian Vettel comments on Red Bull situation

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Sebastian Vettel has told Max Verstappen that he has the best car on the grid and should feel motivated despite falling behind in the race for the World Drivers’ Championship. Red Bull star Verstappen has endured a frustrating start to his world title defence, retiring from two of the three Grands Prix so far. 

A fuel leak in the Dutchman’s car caused him to pull out of the Australian Grand Prix despite chasing Charles Leclerc in second place. He had previously retired from the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix. 

Verstappen won in Saudi Arabia but Leclerc’s two victories put him well ahead of the 24-year-old. The 2021 champion finds himself sixth in the standings and 46 points behind his former karting rival. 

However, Verstappen has been given food for thought by former Red Bull ace Vettel, who believes the team have the best car despite their problems. The Aston Martin driver has told Verstappen that he has ‘no reason’ to lose motivation in the battle for the world title, despite not yet having the best ‘package’.

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“In Max’s situation you have no reason not to be motivated. He is in a great team and I think Red Bull has the best car. Right now they just don’t have the best package yet,” Vettel said, as per De Telegraaf.

Red Bull’s struggles this season prompted team advisor Helmut Marko to take a subtle dig at Verstappen’s aggressive driving style. Despite obvious technical issues with Verstappen’s car, the Austrian has taken the view that his style does not suit the vehicle and has contributed to the poor performances. 

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Asked why Ferrari’s Leclerc is faster than team-mate Carlos Sainz, Marko told F1 Insider: “Oddly enough, we have the opposite effect. Sergio Perez is much closer to Max than was the case in 2021. The simplest explanation for this is: the new cars with less downforce suit some drivers better and others less. 

“Sainz is an intelligent, very hard worker. He will work off his backlog in the future. In Australia he was closer, but then he was unlucky with the red flag and later with the steering wheel. Perez is very happy with the setup of the car. 

“Max finds it even harder. He hasn’t found the right balance yet and therefore doesn’t have the fullest confidence in the car. His aggressive driving style doesn’t quite go together with the new cars.”

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