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Webber: Verstappen ‘a bit flaky’ in build-up to F1 races

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Ex-Red Bull Formula 1 driver Mark Webber feels that Max Verstappen has been “a bit flaky” at times this year in the build-up to race weekends, making unnecessary mistakes through practice and qualifying.

A rough start to the year marred by reliability issues and a couple of on-track incidents has seen Verstappen amass 50 less points than Red Bull teammate Daniel Ricciardo, leaving him sixth in the drivers’ standings with just one podium to his name.

Reviewing both Red Bull drivers’ seasons in an interview with the energy drink giant’s official website, Webber felt Verstappen’s main weakness had been earlier in the weekend rather than the race itself.

“Both of the guys have driven well this year, but Max has probably been a bit flaky in terms of the build-up to the races through the weekend,” Webber said.

“He’s been going off the road a lot on Friday and Saturday, which puts pressure on mechanics getting the car ready. I’d like to see him on the road a bit more, but he’s pushing the limits.

“When it comes to Sundays, he hasn’t made many mistakes at all, it’s been a lot of high-profile reliability retirements where he’s lost a truckload of points, so that’s been hard for him to swallow.”

Looking at Ricciardo’s campaign, Webber said: “Daniel is just so solid on Sunday afternoons, he’s the most reliable driver in F1 in that you know what he’s going to deliver week-in, week-out.

“He’s always got the most out of what they’ve given him and it’s hard to see how he could have done much more.”

Red Bull has been marooned as the third-fastest team for much of the season so far, and Webber puts its inability to challenge Mercedes and Ferrari on a regular basis down to the power deficit of its Renault engines.

“We all expected such great things from this car this year, but it came out the box very poorly. They had a lot of catching up to do.

“With Renault, it’s unfortunately a little bit of a broken record, ‘we haven’t got this, we haven’t got that’ – it’s been going on for five years. [Red Bull] have to make a car a second faster than everyone else, maybe.”