Toro Rosso’s teenaged star Max Verstappen believes that only the all-conquering Mercedes team has a better chassis than his STR10.
Speaking at Silverstone ahead of the British Grand Prix, Verstappen said that if his car had a more powerful engine than his recalcitrant Renault, then the Red Bull junior team would be right in the mix at the front of the field.
"I think it's P3, behind the [two] Mercedes," said Verstappen. "When you have a fast engine, your chassis gets better, because it's easier to drive, so you don't have to go over the limit with traction, things like that, to gain one or two hundredths that you then lose on the straights.
"When I compare the high-speed performance and in general, if we had the [best] engine, we'd be P3."
No hope of Barcelona qualifying repeat
Verstappen said it was unlikely that he would repeat his top-six qualifying performance at Barcelona in this weekend's British Grand Prix.
"To be honest, I don't think we are as strong as Barcelona here," said Verstappen. "I think there are longer straights [at Silverstone] and I think other teams have made improvements with their cars as well.
"It will be a better race than Barcelona, that's for sure!" he quipped of a Grand Prix in which he went backwards and finished outside the points.
"But qualifying, I don't think so. Force India, with the new package, they will be very close."
The Dutchman believes he might have to wait until the next race, in Hungary, to trouble the frontrunners again.
"Hungary I think will be better for us," he said. "Even there, you'd prefer to have a strong engine. We could have a result like Monaco in terms of performance there."