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Verstappen explains 'really weird' cause of early retirement from Australian Grand Prix

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MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 24: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing looks

Max Verstappen has explained that an issue with his right-rear brake which started at the very beginning of the Australian Grand Prix was the reason behind his early retirement from the race.

The Red Bull driver had initially looked to have had a smooth getaway off the line as he held onto the lead from pole position, but a moment on Lap 2 allowed Carlos Sainz to overtake.

RACE START: Watch the getaway in Australia as Verstappen holds the lead before forced retirement

Shortly afterwards smoke started to billow from the rear of Verstappen’s RB20, resulting in the Dutchman slowly making his way back to the pits to retire from a race for the first time in two years.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 24: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1) Oracle Red Bull

Verstappen had initially held the lead off the line as the Australian Grand Prix got under way

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2024 Australian Grand Prix: Huge drama in Melbourne as Verstappen is OUT on Lap 5

Red Bull Racing's Dutch driver Max Verstappen (C) walks back to the garage after smoke billowing

Verstappen suffered his first retirement from a race in two years

The last time that Verstappen recorded a DNF was at the Australian Grand Prix in 2022. Asked how frustrating it felt to suffer his first retirement since then, the 26-year-old responded: “Yeah, it’s not ideal. Of course you always want to finish the races but it’s a mechanical sport.

“These things unfortunately happen, but I think it’s the most important that we understand why it happened.”

READ MORE: Verstappen addresses speculation over F1 future after being linked with move away from Red Bull

Verstappen was not the only driver to retire from the running, with Lewis Hamilton also suffering a mechanical issue that forced him to pull off the track on Lap 17.

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