NOS reporter understands public reaction to Verstappen’s failure: ‘There is a hidden agenda’

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NOS reporter understands public reaction to Verstappen's failure: 'There is a hidden agenda'

Jeroen Bleekemolen and NOS reporter Louis Dekker can understand the reaction of the Australian public, who started cheering when Max Verstappen had to get out of his RB20 after just a few laps. Dekker explains where the public’s joy about the Red Bull Racing driver’s retirement comes from.

It was an unusual sight for many when Verstappen was passed in the second lap by the later winner Carlos Sainz, but the fact that the reigning world champion subsequently had to abandon the fight early due to equipment failure caused disbelief among many, including Bleekemolen. The Australian crowd loved it and there were loud cheers from the stands.

Dekker did not find that surprising. ‘This is understandable. I’ve been to Melbourne many times and the crowds are fantastic. They are for everyone and against no one,” the reporter says in the NOS Formula 1 podcast. ‘But here you saw that they also like it when something surprising happens. And there is another hidden agenda, because two Australians participated,” Dekker refers to Oscar Piastri and Daniel Ricciardo. ‘And if Verstappen drops out, people think: oh, could Piastri make it onto the podium? So this is pure opportunism and you also have to remember that there are a lot of Ferrari fans in Australia. They have received the gift of their lives. That explains why everyone is bouncing back so much,” says Dekker.

Verstappen’s failure made it exciting

Bleekemolen also cannot deny that the retirement caused another race. “I was watching in disbelief, but the race then became very exciting,” he admits. ‘Otherwise I think it would have been a race we have seen so many of before. He (Verstappen, ed.) had driven away, had had enough lead, was able to make a pit stop and it had worked. And now it got exciting. Can Sainz keep his tires intact? Will Leclerc do anything else? “Norris was coming,” Bleekemolen lists a few exciting elements. “We always enjoy watching the battle for P2, but I thought it would be interesting,” said Bleekemolen.

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