Verstappen let down by Red Bull once again

Max Verstappen
Max Verstappen

Max Verstappen was forced to retire for this sixth time in 10 races on Sunday as his Red Bull Racing car broke down again at the Belgian Grand Prix.

The 19-year-old has suffered a dismal season in 2017, with mechanical ailments denying him in four of his six retirements this campaign - the other two have seen him victim of others' accidents.

The Belgian Grand Prix was going to form for Verstappen - a promising showing in qualifying saw him ahead of team-mate Daniel Ricciardo in fifth place, and he was running fifth in the race too until his car failed on the eighth lap.

More than 20,000 Dutch fans packed the stands and mounds to cheer on Verstappen at Spa-Francorchamps but left disappointed as they man pulled over on the Kemmel Straight for yet another retirement this season.

Speaking afterwards, he said: “I am extremely disappointed not just because of my retirement but for the fans also. They pay a lot of money to come and watch the race, I then retire after only eight laps so it must be frustrating for them.

"We have had a good weekend up until today, we have worked really hard and qualifying went very well so I was optimistic for the race.

"Out of the last corner I shifted from third to fourth and straight away lost power, it went into some sort of safe mode. It has been a very tough year so far and we need to get on top of these problems which we will discuss as a team again.

"Obviously I am not a happy person so I’m looking forward to getting home. I will go away and regroup and come back with a positive attitude next week.”

His misfortune has drawn sympathy from Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo, who benefited from Verstappen's retirement to claim third place - his sixth podium of the year, to Verstappen's one.

"I definitely feel for Max," Ricciardo added. "He’s had a pretty up and down season and most of the time it was out of his control so of course that’s frustrating especially for this to happen at his home race.”

Red Bull principal Christian Horner said engine supplier Renault had apologised to Verstappen after robbing him of a fighting chance at what the teenager calls his home Grand Prix.

He said: "Unfortunately it has been an enormously frustrating day for Max. Once again he was in a great position and through no fault of his own he has suffered another engine failure.

"Our engine partners have apologised and are quite aware that their reliability and product isn’t where it should be, while Alain Prost has personally apologised to Max. With that we as a team offer our apology to the mass of Dutch fans who came out to support Max at his home race.

"Max is a fantastic talent, driving at a phenomenally high level at present, and he’s got great drive and determination and he’ll come through this period and this season a stronger driver. I’ve no doubt he’ll be determined to deliver his best again in Monza, despite the engine penalties we will take there, and the disappointment he feels right now, and that’s the measure of the man he is.”