Red Bull level or ahead of Ferrari now - Verstappen

Red Bull's recent chassis progress and latest engine update has helped lift the team level with Ferrari in overall pace terms – and even ahead of its rival – reckons Max Verstappen.

Red Bull level or ahead of Ferrari now - Verstappen
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13
 Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13
 Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13
 Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13

Although Verstappen was beaten by Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen in qualifying for the Azerbaijan GP, he knows that a wound-down engine and a gear sync problem made all the difference as he ended up fifth on the grid.

Therefore, being so close to Ferrari on a power circuit, where Red Bull had been expecting to be on the back foot, has left him hugely encouraged about where things are at right now.

"We are again up close to Ferrari, or even in front – so that is good," explained 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."

Verstappen said that winding his engine down after Q2, due to an issue related to the rev limiter, allied to a lock-up at Turn 7 and a subsequent gear sync issue, cost him at least four tenths – which would have been enough for third on the grid.

"We should be ahead without all of those things that happened in qualifying," he said.

"Of course when you look to Mercedes, still we need to improve, but we know that they have this [Q3] power mode they can use twice maybe, so we still have to work.

"The car in general, when you look at sector two, where you have most of the corners, we were very competitive so I can be happy with that."

When asked if he was surprised that Ferrari appeared to have fallen away from Mercedes, Verstappen said: "I am not sure if they dropped back. I think Mercedes, with the long straights and improving the car again, they made a step."

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