World champion Max Verstappen complained that his weekend had been “terrible” despite qualifying second for Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix, saying he did not feel comfortable in his Red Bull.
The Dutchman looked like taking pole for the race at Albert Park before Ferrari title rival Charles Leclerc struck at the death to edge him by 0.286 secs in an action-packed session.
Verstappen, who won in Saudi Arabia two weeks ago, said he had struggled with car problems since arriving in Melbourne for the third race of the campaign.
“It’s been terrible for me the whole weekend so far. Just not a good balance all the time, chasing something and I never felt comfortable for one lap except the long runs,” he said.
“It’s been a big struggle. Clearly we didn’t seem to fix it even in qualifying. It just doesn’t give you confidence to push. It’s not great to be honest.”
The 24-year-old was also unhappy that organisers cut the number of Drag Reduction System (DRS) zones to three from four due to safety concerns.
DRS areas allow drivers within one second of the car in front to open a flap mounted on the rear wing to increase top speed and aid overtaking.
The Red Bulls are considered quicker on the straight than the Ferraris and the more DRS zones the better for them.
“I don’t really understand why they took it away because it was much safer than what we do in general, for example. It’s a bit of a mystery why that happened,” he said.
“One team complained about it (in the pre-race drivers meeting). For me it was way easier than doing it in Jeddah, where there was more corners.
“A shame because it would have made for good racing.”