Max Verstappen says it is not a shock to Red Bull that the team was adrift of pace of Mercedes and Ferrari at last weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix.
Fifth place in Montreal was the result of a solid recovery drive for Verstappen who had started ninth after being eliminated in Q2 on Saturday, but Valtteri Bottas had such a margin over the Dutchman that he could pit for fresh tires to set the fastest lap late on and still retain fourth place. The race in Canada followed a much stronger performance in Monaco, but Verstappen says Red Bull is operating well as a team even if the car itself is not as competitive as the team would like.
“We maximized it, pretty much like the whole year so far,” Verstappen said. “Of course it’s not where we want to be, but still even if you are not happy you still need to get the points, and that’s what we are doing. At the end of the day, even if I had started in P4 I think the end result would still have been P5.
“Monaco, we were the second-best team. I knew [Canada] was not going to be great, even if last year we were quite competitive. But I think back then our car was quite a lot better than the Mercedes and the Ferrari, and now I wouldn’t say we are superior to them, so then automatically it becomes quite hard over here.
“The drag is different as well with the new front wings and rear wings, so it’s difficult to compare (to 2018). We are working hard to improve, we know we have to improve – it’s not a secret – but we also knew that from the beginning of the year, so it’s not like a big shock what is happening now.”
Fifth was actually Verstappen’s worst result of the season, but he says he is not frustrated by the situation despite having rarely been in contention for a victory this year.
“I’m enjoying myself,” he said. “Of course we all know that we need to do better, but I believe in the project we are in together with Honda. We are working hard now to step up the performance, and we’ll see in the upcoming races where we will be. If you get a bit more power and a bit more balance in the car, then suddenly it looks a lot different.”