JULY 7, 2020
Failure makes title a lot harder now says Verstappen
The opening race weekend of 2020 has made Max Verstappen's big title target "a lot more difficult to achieve".
The Dutchman, and his Red Bull team, want the 22-year-old to beat Sebastian Vettel's old record to become the youngest ever world champion this year.
But Verstappen retired during the season opener last Sunday with what his team called an electrical failure.
When asked about his title target, Max told Servus TV on Monday: "After last weekend it will be a lot more difficult to achieve that now.
"If it happens, it happens. But it will be a lot harder now. Nothing is over yet but we have to score a lot of points this weekend," he added.
Normally, a retirement in the season opener would not be such a blow for one of the sport's top drivers.
But Verstappen says 2020 is different.
"Breakdowns can always happen, but with fewer races on the calendar it is really unfortunate," he said.
"We were second, which was very good, and we were on the move with a different strategy. If you see what happened in that race, a lot could have happened. But it makes no difference now."
Red Bull and engine partner Honda had high hopes for their 2020 package, but Verstappen admitted that Mercedes is still clearly leading.
"The speed wasn't bad, but we want to improve it," he said. "Mercedes is still too fast for us on a single lap.
"During the race I was on harder tyres and it was better, but we want to find some more time for this weekend."