Verstappen unsure Red Bull gains "enough to fight" Mercedes at Monza

Max Verstappen is unsure Red Bull's performance gains on Mercedes this year will be "enough to fight them" at Monza as the Formula 1 title battles continue.

Listen to this article

Verstappen moved back into the lead of the F1 drivers' championship last Sunday by winning the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort, moving three points clear of Mercedes rival Lewis Hamilton.

Red Bull sits just 12 points off Mercedes at the top of the constructors' standings, giving it a shot at ending its title drought that dates back to 2013.

Monza has typically been a Mercedes stronghold over the years thanks to the team's dominant power unit and straight-line performance in the V6 hybrid era. While it failed to win at Monza in 2019 or 2020, it won every year from 2014 to 2018.

By contrast, Red Bull has traditionally struggled at Monza, although the team appears to have made big improvements on its straight-line performance in 2021.

Verstappen said that Red Bull would certainly be more competitive at Monza this year than in previous seasons, but he was uncertain it would offer enough to take the fight to Mercedes.

"For sure, compared to previous years [it is more competitive], but I'm not sure if it's going to be enough to fight them," Verstappen said.

"Nevertheless, this weekend again, with sprint qualifying and stuff, it's going to be very different.

"I just hope we did our homework before getting here and we can be very competitive. It's a bit difficult to say where we will stand. I definitely don't expect it to be like Zandvoort."

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB16B track walk on bicycles

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB16B track walk on bicycles

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

Verstappen entered the second half of the 2021 season braced to take a grid drop at a later stage after losing one of his three power units to crash damage.

It means the Dutchman will lose at least 10 places on the grid at one of the remaining races, potentially impacting the title fight against Hamilton.

Red Bull has typically opted for Monza as a good place to take engine penalties in the past, thanks to its long straights that allow for plenty of overtaking and recoveries through the field.

But Verstappen said there were no plans currently to take a penalty this weekend due to the close title fight and the addition of sprint qualifying, offering three bonus points for the Saturday winner.

"We haven't really decided yet where to take it," Verstappen said. "I guess this engine is still very new. So we'll see. It's definitely not the plan to take it here."

Read Also:

shares
comments
Hulkenberg sees no chance of making F1 comeback in 2022
Previous article

Hulkenberg sees no chance of making F1 comeback in 2022

Next article

Tsunoda surprised AlphaTauri handed him new F1 contract

Tsunoda surprised AlphaTauri handed him new F1 contract
The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants Prime

The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants

OPINION: Mercedes endured its worst season of the hybrid Formula 1 era, but was mercifully spared its first winless campaign in over a decade late on. It has owned up to the mistakes it made which led to its troubled W13. And while its task to return to title-challenging contention is not small, its 2022 season seems more like a blip than the beginning of a downward spiral.

The physical focus bringing out the best from Esteban Ocon Prime

The physical focus bringing out the best from Esteban Ocon

Esteban Ocon likes to point out he’s the first driver since Lewis Hamilton to emerge from a spell as Fernando Alonso’s teammate with a superior overall points record. While some may disagree, as LUKE SMITH discovered, the 2021 Hungarian GP winner reckons it’s not just luck which has made him France’s pre-eminent Formula 1 driver of the moment…

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2022
How Red Bull's dynamic leader Mateschitz shaped its F1 philosophy Prime

How Red Bull's dynamic leader Mateschitz shaped its F1 philosophy

The death of Dietrich Mateschitz last month has not only deprived Red Bull of its visionary founder, it has shorn Formula 1 of one of its most influential benefactors. Mateschitz himself was famously media-shy, preferring to let the brand do the talking on his behalf. And, while it’s now normal to speak of Red Bull F1 titles and champions made, Mateschitz never assumed it would be easy or even possible – as ANTHONY ROWLINSON discovered during this previously unpublished interview from 2006…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2022
Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom? Prime

Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom?

OPINION: Teams that have dominated for long periods throughout Formula 1's history often take years to get back to the top of the tree once they've slipped down. But it remains to be seen whether the same will happen to Mercedes after a challenging 2022 season

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2022
What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi Prime

What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi

Arguably the favourite in the battle to finish second-best in 2022's Formula 1 standings, Sergio Perez's two-stop strategy at Abu Dhabi couldn't take him ahead of Charles Leclerc when the music stopped - and several key factors ultimately precluded him from the much-coveted runner-up spot.

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2022
The Abu Dhabi momentum that can propel Leclerc and Ferrari to F1 2023 success Prime

The Abu Dhabi momentum that can propel Leclerc and Ferrari to F1 2023 success

OPINION: Charles Leclerc achieved his target of sealing runner-up in the 2022 world championship with a masterful drive behind Max Verstappen in Abu Dhabi. And that race contained key elements that may help him, and Ferrari, go one better in Formula 1 2023

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2022
2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Driver Ratings Prime

2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Driver Ratings

The 2022 Formula 1 season came to a close at the Yas Marina Circuit, where the battle for second in the standings was decided, the wins in a season record extended and a retiring four-time world champion bowed out on a high. Here's how we rated the drivers

Formula 1
Nov 21, 2022
The factors that stopped Perez catching Leclerc in Verstappen's Abu Dhabi triumph Prime

The factors that stopped Perez catching Leclerc in Verstappen's Abu Dhabi triumph

Max Verstappen ended the 2022 Formula 1 season in fitting fashion with a dominant drive to victory in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. But behind him, early season rival Charles Leclerc achieved his target of securing the runner-up spot with a well-executed a one-stop strategy to beat Sergio Perez, whose pursuit on a two-stop strategy was hampered by several critical factors

Formula 1
Nov 21, 2022