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Max Verstappen

Red Bull warn Verstappen facing the 'inevitable' this season

12 races down, 12 to go. No way Max Verstappen can get through the rest of the season without this happening.

Verstappen Silverstone
To news overview © Red Bull Content Pool

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has warned it is inevitable that Max Verstappen will have to take a power unit penalty at some stage this season.

Heading into the British Grand Prix weekend, Red Bull handed Sergio Perez new power unit components of an internal combustion engine, MGU-H, MGU-K, and traction control, taking him to the limit in allowance with each.

After Perez qualified 19th following a mistake in the first part of qualifying that resulted in him beaching his RB20 in the gravel, the team decided to stockpile further components.

Under parc fermé conditions, and with nothing to lose, Red Bull opted to take a fifth ICE, as well as a new control electronics and energy store, incurring the penalty of a pit lane start.

Verstappen is on the cusp of a penalty as he is at the limit with all six components. The initial fitting of any new element beyond the quota incurs a 10-place grid penalty. Additional replacements thereafter result in five-place penalties.

With the season now at the halfway point - 12 races run, 12 remaining - Horner has conceded Verstappen will have to follow in Perez's footsteps over the second half of the campaign.  

"I'm sure at some point we'll end up taking an extra engine for Max," said Horner. "It's just a question of when you strategically choose to do that.

"So we're working with Honda on that. Inevitably we will take a penalty at some point in the year."

That will undoubtedly hamper Verstappen's defence of his drivers' title, although he has opened up an 84-point cushion over his rivals, spearheaded by McLaren's Lando Norris, despite not possessing the quickest car in the last two races.

Although winning only three of the last seven races since the Miami Grand Prix, and although Red Bull have been out-developed by McLaren and Mercedes over that period, Verstappen has still outscored those chasing him.

Horner concedes Red Bull is at "the top of the curve" in terms of its development, but added: "There's stuff that we have in the pipeline, there are still gains to be had.

"Inevitably, when it becomes closer, it's down to those marginal fine details that make the difference.

"Form is moving around a bit. Mercedes was strong [at Silverstone}, McLaren was strong [in Austria] , we won in Barcelona.

"Out of this triple header, I wouldn't be at all surprised if Max has scored the most points."

Also interesting:

In the latest podcast, Ian, Sam and Nick discuss the British GP and Hamilton's emotional return to winning ways. Hamilton's journey since 2021 is discussed, as is Lando Norris' BIGGEST hurdle and Sergio Perez entering the Red Bull danger zone!

Rather watch than listen to the podcast? Click here.

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RESULTS 2024 F1 Hungarian Grand Prix - Qualifying