Red Bull is going to give Mercedes and Ferrari a hard time in the races after the mid-season break, according to chief engineer of car engineering Paul Monaghan.
Max Verstappen has won two of the past four races, securing pole position last time out in Hungary before finishing second to Lewis Hamilton following a thrilling battle. While wins were hard to come by at the start of the year, Monaghan says Red Bull is improving relative to the front two and will be a bigger threat for the remainder of the season.
“We’re making steps and we are getting closer,” Monaghan said. “We’re going to give these guys a hard time and/or beat them. Mercedes could have expected to go to Austria and dominate but we managed to beat them, and Ferrari dropped away from qualifying pace quite significantly in the race. We qualified well and raced better, so let’s see what happens during the remainder of the season.
“It’s a sport, it’s not supposed to be a known outcome. It’s supposed to be competitive. We are supposed to be able to challenge or beat our opposition. We just have to be close enough to do it and we are certainly getting there.”
Monaghan had special praise for the way Verstappen has performed, with the 21-year-old closing in on Valtteri Bottas in the fight for second place in the drivers’ championship.
“He’s been a revelation since he joined us, winning his first grand prix in his first race with us. He’s a sensational driver. In Austria, the way he came through the field was determined yet considered. He won that race because he had a greater desire than the others. And in Germany he was just brilliant.”
Red Bull has made a driver lineup change ahead of this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix, with Alexander Albon replacing Pierre Gasly for the rest of the season as Gasly returns to Toro Rosso.