Max Verstappen brings out the red flags early in practice at Dutch GP

·2-min read
Red Bull's Max Verstappen climbs out of his car during first practice at the Dutch Grand Prix. Zandvoort, September 2022. Credit: PA Images
Red Bull's Max Verstappen climbs out of his car during first practice at the Dutch Grand Prix. Zandvoort, September 2022. Credit: PA Images

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen has brought out the red flags in first practice at Zandvoort after breaking down on track.

The Dutch driver had headed out on track to begin the first practice session at his home race when he brought out the Virtual Safety Car after just 10 minutes.

Verstappen was accelerating away from the first corner when he appeared to suffer a major technical problem and ground to a halt at the Hungenholtz corner.

Verstappen radioed in to say he suspected a gearbox problem and climbed out of his smoking Red Bull RB18 and walked away, with Red Bull since confirming a transmission-related issue had hit his car.

The session was red-flagged for around 10 minutes until it resumed.

The FIA’s Technical Delegate had released documentation on Friday morning revealing “a seal was broken on the gearbox of car number 01, driver Max Verstappen, in order to change the main shaft locking insert”.

The reigning World Champion had set the quickest time of the session in the early stages of FP1 until his failure ruled him out of the remainder of the early running.

As the gearbox was a ‘Friday gearbox’ from his season’s allocation, Verstappen will not serve a grid penalty for switching to another gearbox for the remainder of the weekend.

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner told Sky Sports: “We lost drive while he (Verstappen) took a shift from fourth to fifth [gear]. We need to get the car back to understand that.

“Hopefully we’ll get it turned around quickly for the next session.”

Asked whether the gearbox issue could result in a penalty at a later stage in the season, Horner said that is something that will not be clear for a while yet.

“I don’t think so,” he said. “Until we know what the actual issue is…we need to get the car back and understand it.”

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