Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says Max Verstappen needs to get any frustration from the opening half of the 2020 Formula 1 system “out of his system”.

Verstappen’s title hopes have taken a major blow after back-to-back retirements at Monza and Mugello that have left the Red Bull driver 80 points behind championship leader Lewis Hamilton.

The Dutchman was caught up in a first lap collision at Mugello after losing power at the start and getting swallowed up into the chasing pack after reporting an issue with his Honda engine on the grid before the race.

It is the second race in a row that Verstappen has been affected by technical problems and his Mugello retirement marked his third DNF of the campaign, having failed to finish the season-opener in Austria.

Horner said he fully understood Verstappen’s frustrations over team radio following his latest retirement and revealed he would sit down with his driver before this weekend’s Russian Grand Prix to discuss how the team plans to rectify the issues.

“Max's frustration at another DNF is totally understandable,” Horner said in his latest column for Red Bull’s website.

“From the very first lap in Mugello he was on it. We had a very fast car and some real progress has been made with the balance of the car.

“That is what was so galling for him. In the heat of the moment when you have gone from the adrenaline of the start to the disappointment of ending up in the gravel trap, it is only natural to vent on the radio.

“We really felt that in the race we could take the fight to Mercedes. He had done the hard work in beating Lewis off the line and it was going to be game on, but of course that did not materialise.”

But Horner believes it is Verstappen’s hunger and desire to succeed that ultimately makes him the ultra-competitive driver he is.

“It was the second race in a row and a huge frustration for him because he is hungry and wants it so badly,” he added.

“If he did not have that hunger, he would not be the driver he is and the one that we all want to watch fight for victories each weekend.

“He has to get it out of his system now and then look forward. We will go through it with him prior to Sochi and discuss what has been done behind the scenes between Honda and the team to help so it is rectified for the next race.”

 

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