Max Verstappen breaks silence on Red Bull catching fire after his Australian GP ruined | F1 | Sport

When the cars lined up on the grid, Verstappen was well-set to continue his dominance and extend his winning run to a record-equalling 10 Grands Prix.

This seemed even more likely when Verstappen held off Carlos Sainz on the run down to turn one at the race start, but after just two laps his afternoon started to unravel, losing the lead on the outside of turn nine.

Then, two laps later, smoke began to billow out of the back of Verstappen’s RB20, forcing him to back off and eventually setting his car ablaze as he retired on lap four of the Australian GP.

Explaining the sequence of events that left him out of the race in Albert Park, Verstappen told Sky Sports F1: “We could see some fire as soon as the lights went off.

“The right rear brake stuck on and the damage kept increasing. It was basically like driving with the handbrake on. It was really weird to drive in some corners.

“If a brake is stuck on it doesn’t help. You could see one brake, the right rear brake, stuck on. The team will investigate. Not [something I’ve experienced before] that I know of, it must have been a very long time ago.”

Verstappen’s DNF capped off a messy weekend for the reigning champions, who saw their Constructors’ Championship advantage over rivals Ferrari trimmed down significantly.

The Dutchman’s team-mate, Sergio Perez, was unable to pick up the pieces following Verstappen’s DNF after he was slapped with a three-place grid penalty for blocking Nico Hulkenberg in qualifying.

This penalty dropped the Mexican from third on the grid to sixth and left him fighting the likes of George Russell and Fernando Alonso, rather than battling the two Ferrari drivers at the front.

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