Max Verstappen began the Jeddah race in 15th due to driveshaft failure in Q2, but thanks to Red Bull‘s strong pace and the timely intervention of the safety car, he sliced through the field to finish second. Teammate Sergio Perez won the race from pole, executing a flawless performance. However, Verstappen faced another driveshaft scare in race’s second half after reporting strange noises from the rear. Team principal Christian Horner admitted his “heart sank” when he heard Verstappen‘s report, but despite the scare, he recovered brilliantly to finish in second place.
Horner said, “the biggest point of concern for us during the grand prix was when Max radioed in with about 15 laps to go saying he heard a high-pitched noise at high speed. So your heart immediately sinks, thinking about the driveshaft failure of yesterday. But checking all the data that we have here, everything that they could see back in Milton Keynes, all the parameters we had looked okay.” With his issue effectively ending his chances of challenging Perez, Red Bull ordered both drivers to slow down before Verstappen secured the point for the fastest lap on the final lap of the race.
When reflecting on the race and his issue, Verstappen said, “at one point, I picked up again these vibrations on the driveshaft, on the rear. The team couldn’t see anything, but I’m fairly sure there was something odd going on with the balance since the vibration started to kick in.” Further investigation will be carried out ahead of the next race in Melbourne in two weeks’ time. “It’s something that we need to understand,” Horner added, “we’ll take off all the parts. We just need to learn from it going forward, if there’s a design tweak or not I don’t know. But obviously, we’ve got four examples of it running in both our car and in the AlphaTauri.”