Max Verstappen has said that Red Bull's technical problems, suffered during the final laps of the Bahrain Grand Prix, "shouldn't happen at this level" following a frustrating start to the new season. Charles Leclerc led home a Ferrari 1-2 at the Bahrain International Circuit after Verstappen and teammate Sergio Perez were forced to retire during the closing stages of Sunday's 57-lap encounter. Both Red Bull drivers hit technical issues, with Verstappen losing straight-line speed and slowing significantly, while Perez ground to an immediate halt after spinning at Turn 1 on the final lap, handing a podium place to Lewis Hamilton.
Verstappen explains Red Bull's problems
Verstappen's problems started with complaints about his steering getting heavier before he lost engine power at the Safety Car restart. "I don't know why," Verstappen told Sky Sports , when asked what caused his initial steering issues. "We don't really know or fully understand yet why it happened, but it definitely happened after the tyres came on and I drove off [in the pit-stops]. "It was not even that the steering wheel just got too heavy, it was almost impossible to steer, and the faster I was going, it felt also like there was like a delay, so every time I was turning right it took a while before something was happening. "That's when my restart was very bad. I wanted to go on throttle, but I couldn't open my wheel because it was stuck."
Red Bull left with plenty to analyse
Verstappen entered the 2022 season opener as the reigning World Champion and had challenged Leclerc for the lead, only for his and Red Bull's race to get flipped upside down. He is now seeking answers ahead of the F1 paddock moving on to Saudi Arabia, having been unhappy with the handling of his RB18. "It was very hard out there with a lot of different issues that we had to deal with and this is, of course, not what you want to have on the first race weekend," Verstappen continued. "The pace wasn't amazing. I think the balance was just not as good as on Friday, for whatever reason, which we have to understand, of course. "There was just a lot of things to analyse, to be honest."
Verstappen: We have already lost a lot of points
The result has left Verstappen on zero points, 26 behind race-winner Charles Leclerc. "We've already lost a lot of points again, in one race – that's really not good!" Verstappen said, having won last season's World Championship by just eight points. "I know that with one retirement it's not over, but I would prefer to have at least 18 points. "You can always say that problems can happen and you might have to retire, but I think at this level, after already having so much information with engines and stuff, it shouldn't happen."