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‘We’ll move on and learn from it’ – Verstappen reflects on Red Bull reliability issue in Australia as he quashes any concerns for Japan

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SUZUKA, JAPAN - APRIL 04: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing walks in the

Max Verstappen believes that Red Bull will “learn from” the brake issue that caused him to retire from the Australian Grand Prix, with the Dutchman confident that the team can perform well at the upcoming race weekend in Japan.

Verstappen had initially looked to be on course to continue his winning streak in Melbourne, having led the opening lap of the race from pole position on the grid. However, after soon being overtaken by the Ferrari of Carlos Sainz, smoke started to emerge from the rear of the RB20, forcing Verstappen to slowly make his way back to the pits to retire the car.

READ MORE: ‘It hurts everybody’ – Red Bull say ‘lots of lessons’ to take from first mechanical retirement since Melbourne 2022

The problem was confirmed to be with the right-rear brake and, reflecting back on the weekend now, Verstappen admits that there were some early indications that something may have been amiss.

“I think we saw already some signs on Saturday where things were maybe not looking like they should have done,” the world champion commented. “Of course, now in hindsight you can say it was coming from the brake caliper.

“But we couldn’t find any, let’s say, fault with the car which, in a way, it’s of course always bad to retire but when you have a fault, it may be the build spec or whatever, then it’s a bit worse. We’ll just move on from there and learn from it, [hope] that it doesn’t happen again but normally it shouldn’t.”

Red Bull Racing's Dutch driver Max Verstappen gets out of his smoking car after retiring during the

Verstappen recorded his first retirement in two years at the Australian Grand Prix

Pushed on whether he has any concerns entering into the weekend at Suzuka, Verstappen responded: “No.”

With the Japanese Grand Prix having moved to earlier in the calendar this year, F1’s last visit to the venue took place a little over half a year ago in September 2023.

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

On that occasion, Verstappen and Red Bull arrived at the event off the back of a challenging weekend in Singapore, while this time around there is a similar scenario at play given Verstappen’s retirement in Melbourne.

However, the 26-year-old is hopeful that the Suzuka circuit can play to the strengths of the RB20.

“Every year is different,” said Verstappen. “Last year we had a bit of a difficult weekend in Singapore. I think, if you look at Melbourne performance-wise, we were quick but we didn’t finish the race, so that’s not ideal.

TOKYO, JAPAN - APRIL 03: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing waves to the

Verstappen is hopeful that Red Bull can have a better weekend at Suzuka

“But our car normally likes the higher-speed corners, so hopefully we can show that again this weekend.”

The track is also a special one for Verstappen and the team given that it is the home event for engine partner Honda, who this year are celebrating 60 years in Formula 1.

DESTINATION GUIDE: What fans can eat, see and do when they visit Suzuka for the Japanese Grand Prix

Reflecting on the highlights of the relationship with Honda, Verstappen remarked: “I guess winning races and championships together, that for sure is my highlight with Honda and just being able to work with their people. [There have been] a lot of great things that we have done already and things to come.

“For me being here in Japan is always very nice, [I] did a bit of skiing as well and been around already for a couple of days. It’s always good to be back here and actually I think I enjoy it even more around this time of the year, early on in the year.

"When you’re travelling quite far, with Australia when you can go straight to Japan I think it works out quite well.”

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