Verstappen retires from Australian Grand Prix

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Formula One world champion Max Verstappen was forced to retire from the Australian Grand Prix on lap four on Sunday with flames leaping out of the rear of his car from a brake problem.

The Dutchman, who started on pole, was overtaken by Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz and complained he had “lost the car” before smoke began billowing from it.
He gradually lost pace and returned to pit where crew rushed to extinguish a blaze from his right rear brake.

It was Verstappen’s first retirement since the race at Albert Park two years ago and ended his run of nine successive race wins.

“What we could see so far in the data is as soon as the lights went off the right rear brake just stuck on, and of course the temperature kept on increasing,” Verstappen told reporters.

“So it was also basically driving with the handbrake on and that’s why already it felt the car was really weird to drive in some corners. It was just very snappy.”

Verstappen said his formation lap was fine but he knew there was a problem as soon as the race started.
Seven-times world champion Lewis Hamilton was also forced to retire early after his Mercedes car suffered a power unit failure.