Max Verstappen has described his retirement from the Australian Grand Prix as "pretty frustrating and unacceptable" after he lost more ground to Charles Leclerc in the championship standings.
Red Bull driver Verstappen was on course to follow Ferrari rival Leclerc home in Sunday's race at Albert Park but hit trouble on Lap 39 of 58 and had to stop his car at the side of the track.
It marked a second DNF in three races for Verstappen, after he was also forced into retirement at the season opener in Bahrain due to a fuel system-related issue.
Verstappen: We're already miles behind
Having fallen 46 points behind Leclerc, who added to his victory in Bahrain and second-place finish in Saudi Arabia, Verstappen gave a blunt assessment of his title chances as things stand.
"We're already miles behind, so I don't even want to think about a championship fight at the moment – I think it is more important to finish races," Verstappen told Sky Sports F1, when asked about the prospect.
"I mean, today was, in general, just a bad day again, not really having the pace, so I was just managing my tyres to try and bring it to the end.
"It looked like quite an easy P2 anyway, and I knew I could not fight Charles, so there was no point to try and put pressure on him.
"But we didn't even finish the race, so it's pretty frustrating and unacceptable."
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Verstappen had "question mark" over his car's reliability
Red Bull made several changes to Verstappen's car between qualifying and the race and the Dutchman admitted to having reliability concerns.
"I knew there was a problem, so it was always going to be a question mark of finishing the race," added Verstappen.
"I mean, these kinds of things, if you want to fight for the title, cannot happen."
Pushed if it is something that has happened before, Verstappen said: "I don't know. They have to get the car back and investigate."
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