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Other SportsMax Verstappen: 'S*** happens', says F1 world champion after Australian Grand Prix

Max Verstappen: ‘S*** happens’, says F1 world champion after Australian Grand Prix

Max Verstappen says his rear right brake catching fire left him with no choice but to retire from a Formula One race for the first time since 2022 as his F1 domination came to a halt at the Australian Grand Prix.

Red Bull’s Verstappen was overtaken on the second lap in Melbourne by race winner Carlos Sainz, of Ferrari, before saying he had “lost the rear” of his car a lap later, describing it as “loose”.

The reigning champion pitted a lap later with his brakes on fire, setting Sainz and team-mate Charles Leclerc up with a chance they took to claim a Ferrari one-two.

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“I started to feel some trouble on the rear, where I felt some really weird instabilities,” Verstappen told Red Bull.

“I saw that the right rear brake caught fire and that was race over. From the start, it kept increasing in temperature until it caught fire. It’s not ideal, when the brakes should be off, that the right rear brake is on.

“S*** happens, right? There’s not much I can do about it. It’s just important that we understand why it happened and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

F1 results 2024: Verstappen still leads

Verstappen’s last retirement also came in Australia. He is now four points ahead of Leclerc, having won the first two races of the season in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

Red Bull’s Sergio Perez is a point behind Leclerc after finishing fifth in Australia behind McLaren’s Lando Norris, who took third, and Oscar Piastri.

The race ended under a virtual safety car after Mercedes’ George Russell suffered a crash on the final lap.

Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso, who Russell was chasing, was called to the stewards alongside Russell, receiving a 20-second penalty and three points on his licence.

Stewards deemed Alonso’s driving “at very least ‘potentially dangerous’, given the very high speed nature of that point of the track”.

Russell was unhurt, but his plight compounded a miserable weekend for Mercedes, with Lewis Hamilton retiring 16 laps in.

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