Motorsport

Australian GP 2024: Max Verstappen's Fiery Retirement Ends Record-Equalling Winning Streak

Max Verstappen's dream for a 10-consecutive winning streak comes to an end after his RB20 retires early due to mechanical failure at the 2024 Australian Grand Prix, the race that handed Ferrari a 1-2 victory after a year of disappointments

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(AP Photo/Scott Barbour,Pool)
Mechanics work to extinguish a fire in Red Bull driver Max Verstappen of the Netherlands' car during the Australian Formula One Grand Prix at Albert Park, in Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, March 24, 2024. (AP Photo/Scott Barbour,Pool)
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An angry Max Verstappen was an early retirement from the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix on Sunday, with the Red Bull driver sustaining a fiery mechanical failure on the fourth lap of the race, enduring his first race retirement since Albert Park in Australia in 2022. (More Motorsports News)

Minutes after his retirement, he was seen on TV coverage of the race in a heated discussion with Red Bull team principal Christian Horner.

Verstappen had won the first two F1 races of the season in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia and was on a nine-race winning streak.

“What we can see so far is the right rear brake just stuck on,” Verstappen said. “So it was also basically driving with a hand brake on. And that's why I really felt that the car was really weird to drive in some corners. It was just very snappy.

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Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton was another early retirement with an engine failure on lap 17.

Verstappen, the three-time F1 world champion, began the race from pole, but was passed by Ferrari's Carlos Sainz on lap two at turn nine. Verstappen kept on the Spaniard's tail, but just two laps later was spewing smoke from the back of his car, with fire following, forcing his retirement from the race.

The 26-year-old had earlier complained on team radio about “losing the car.” Soon afterwards, smoke appeared at the rear of Verstappen's car and he was forced into the pits, with no hope of a return.

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Verstappen won 19 races last season — the most in F1 history — on his way to a third straight title.

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