Max Verstappen has said that anything is possible in his quest for a good result in tomorrow’s race, but admits the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team and Scuderia Ferrari have an edge over his Red Bull Racing team in outright pace.
Verstappen went sixth quickest in the final qualifying session, and will start from fifth place after Lewis Hamilton‘s five place grid drop from a gearbox change. With Mercedes and Ferrari locking out the front two rows on speed before the grid reshuffle, Verstappen was pained to admit he would be unlikely to keep up with those in front without outside intervention.
“Tomorrow I don’t think we are quite there in terms of speed to fight with Mercedes and Ferrari, but as we have seen a lot can happen in the race so anything is possible,” he said. “If there is a bit of a mix of conditions that could be good for us and with a good strategy you never know.”
Verstappen had a scruffy end to his final qualifying session, binning his RB13 into the gravel after a spin exiting Turn 8. Between overcompensating for yellow flags earlier in the lap and a wayward car at the top of the hill, the Dutchman did not have the easiest time trying to crack the Top 5 in the timesheets.
“I hoped for a little better balance in the car but overall it was not too bad. I tried a lot of different lines at turn three and all the time I was losing the rear of the car.
“On my final run I was gaining time but I didn’t get DRS down the straight as Grosjean was stopped on track. You lose easily two and a half tenths on that straight if you don’t have DRS. I tried to get a little more out of the next corners but I picked up the throttle maybe a little too early at turn seven and lost the rear.”
Spielberg is one of the closest venues on the F1 calendar after Spa-Francorchamps to Verstappen’s home country, and is enjoying plenty of support from the Dutch supporters that have travelled to Austria.
“There is a lot of orange everywhere in the grandstands which is really nice to see, so we will try and put on a good show for everyone.”