After having topped both Friday practice sessions at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix with what his rivals fear to be “genuine” pace, Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen has lauded his team’s recent chassis and engine updates.
Photo : Sutton Images
Given the fact that Max qualified P5 less than a tenth off Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari yesterday at qualifying in Baku with gear sync issues and his engine turned down, he reckoned that Red Bull had the measure of Ferrari this weekend in an ideal scenario.
“We are again up close to Ferrari, or even in front – so that is good”, said Verstappen. “We expected difficulties on this track, so we can be happy with the performance of the car.
“The car so far here has been working quite well. We still have to improve compared to Mercedes, for example, especially this weekend again, so we have to keep working hard. We know that they have this Q3 power mode they can use twice maybe, so we still have to work.”
Photo : Andrew Hone – LAT Images
However, amidst the encouragement of the updates, Verstappen has called for reliability to be sorted for Red Bull to have a proper chance to compete.
“It’s not really nice to be fifth”, said Verstappen talking about the issues that plagued his qualifying performance at Baku. “Of course the problem in FP3 was not ideal. But also in Q2 I had some problems going to the limiter – the engine was cutting out a bit. So that was not good.
“Then in Q3, my final lap which of course counts, I was three tenths faster than my previous one then I lost gear sync, so on the straights I was losing a lot of time, which is of course very painful.
“I’m a bit disappointed with fifth, even though with all the issues, we should have been third.”
“We definitely made a step forward here with all the long straights”, Verstappen conceded however. “Second sector, where all corners are, we are in the fight. So that’s good.”
Feature image : Sutton Images
– Aditya Bhat.