Max Verstappen feels Red Bull Racing still have work to do in order to be competitive after the Dutchman could only qualify fifth on the grid for the season opening Australian Grand Prix on Saturday.
After a problematic weekend, Verstappen was finally able to get into some kind of rhythm at Albert Park but ended up 1.297 seconds down on the pole time set by Lewis Hamilton, and the Dutchman believes the RB13 is lacking not just in power but also grip that cost them time compared to the two teams ahead.
“It’s been a bit of a tough weekend in general, I haven’t done as much running as I would have liked,” said Verstappen. “Qualifying was pretty much the first time I managed to string some laps together uninterrupted.
“This morning we didn’t have the balance and therefore couldn’t find the rhythm, so we tried a few things that unfortunately didn’t work how we would have liked. Heading into qualifying we found some positives and built it up lap by lap, after that I kept improving, the balance got better and I managed to have a fairly good qualifying.
“The car is better balanced now but it is clear to see we still a have to gain a bit. It’s not just in power; we built a car that is efficient on the straights but it means we lose a bit of grip in cornering. I am not disappointed as I think this is about where we expected to be at race 1.”
Verstappen is hoping to get a good result on Sunday, and is hoping for luck to play into his hands if those ahead of him start to battle on track for supremacy.
“Tomorrow it is important for me to have a quick and clean start and let the guys in front battle it out,” said Verstappen. “That could then lead to some opportunities. We will keep working this evening to improve and find some more pace ready for tomorrow’s race.”