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Max Verstappen

Verstappen 'fiery passion' an indicator to F1 retirement

Questions have been raised over Max Verstappen's future in Formula 1 amid his opposition to the sport's direction.

Verstappen GP Australia
Article
To news overview © Red Bull Content Pool

Ex-Formula 1 driver Martin Brundle has indicated when it could become clear that Max Verstappen will bow out of F1.

Verstappen retired from the Australian Grand Prix last time out after suffering a brake issue early on in the race.

It marked the Dutchman's first DNF since the 2022 edition of the Melbourne event, bringing an end to his 43 consecutive race finishes, the second-longest streak in F1 history.

Verstappen has previously declared his opposition to the ever-lengthening number of Grands Prix on the calendar as well as the addition of the sprint weekend format, suggesting they could prompt him to depart F1 for a new challenge.

The 26-year-old currently has a contract in place until the 2028 campaign - however Brundle does not believe the three-time World Champion is ready to depart yet.

“Despite his incredible run of successes Verstappen was initially very angry that his car had failed,” Brundle wrote in his column for Sky Sports.

“When the adrenaline washes away he has become good at managing these moods now, but if he ever loses that fiery passion in the heat of the moment you'll know he is getting ready to retire.”

Brundle backs Sainz in Australia

Verstappen's non-finish in Melbourne allowed Carlos Sainz to take his third career victory with Ferrari.

Sainz overtook Verstappen on the second lap of the race before Verstappen's issues became evident.

Although Verstappen was driving an injured Red Bull, Brundle believes Sainz would have sealed victory without the RB20 woes.

“The big question is whether Ferrari would have beaten Red Bull anyway,” he said. “Sainz had already overtaken Verstappen but the RB20 was ailing.

“Sergio Perez in the second Red Bull would only finish fifth, some half-minute behind, before the virtual safety car intervened on the last lap, but he apparently had some aerodynamic damage having earlier shown very good pace.

“McLaren kept Ferrari remarkably honest with their race pace suggesting Verstappen would have been right in there.

“We'll never know the answer to the question of course, but my gut feeling all the way through was that it was Ferrari's day.”

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