Max Verstappen will ‘feel let down’ by Red Bull year after tense Lewis Hamilton battle

Chris Evans says Max Verstappen needs to 'be a bit nicer'

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Max Verstappen will feel “let down” by his Red Bull team after suffering from reliability issues, according to racer Jamie Chadwick. The W Series champion believes the Dutchman will be frustrated that his title defence has got off to a less-than-ideal start through no fault of his own.

Verstappen has already lost a lot of ground in to Charles Leclerc in the driver’s standings this season, despite beating the Monegasque to win the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix last month. Other than the 25 points he took home from Jeddah, though, he has nothing to show for his other two outings so far in 2022.

And that is through no fault of his own, as he was poised to take at least second place in both Bahrain and Australia. But two podiums and a significant number of championship points were snatched away from him in circumstances that he could do nothing about.

The Dutchman has been a victim of the reliability issues that have plagued his car so far. At the season curtain-raiser it turned out to be a vacuum in the fuel supply system which caused him to pull up with only a few laps to go, while a fuel line was the issue which saw a small fire break out at the back of his car in Melbourne.

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Those two costly DNFs have seen Leclerc already open up a significant gap at the top of the standings, 34 points ahead of his nearest competitor and 46 better off than Verstappen. If he is to successfully defend his title, then he will need to make up for those lost results and hope his engineers can make his RB18 more robust.

Asked about the frustrating start to Verstappen’s season, Chadwick feels the Dutchman has changed his approach to when he was battling with Lewis Hamilton for the 2021 title. She also believes that the 24-year-old will feel he hasn’t been justly rewarded for his strong performances.

“It’s quite funny because you see how happy he is at the moment having Charles beat him given the circumstances – well, not happy but his approach is seemingly a bit different to how it ended up at the end of the season with him and Lewis, which turned into this bitter fight at the end,” the W Series racer and Williams development driver told the Chequered Flag podcast.

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“I think at the beginning of the season the approach is very different. I think Max, to be honest, will feel like he’s been let down by the team. Obviously the car’s reliability is one issue but also, perhaps, even on outright pace it’s been hard for them to outqualify the Ferraris.”

Chadwick went on to add that she believes the second half of the season will be more important than these opening exchanges in the title battle, with plenty more racing to be done between now and November. “I think from a driver’s point of view, you can put a lot of emphasis on the team and if the cards were dealt a bit differently then Max would be fighting Lewis,” she added

“But I think until the end of the season, at this point of the season, I don’t think it matters. The focus is on the team and the individuals that are trying to make this development phase as fast as possible so they can be competitive at the end of the year.”

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