Following on from a podium at his effective home race in Belgium, Max Verstappen is not optimistic over Aston Martin Red Bull Racing‘s chances in repeating the feat at this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix.
Verstappen finished a comfortable third, over half-a minute behind victor Sebastian Vettel and ahead of Valtteri Bottas by the same margin, taking his fifth podium of the 2018 season.
The result took him above team-mate Daniel Ricciardo in the Drivers’ Championship and closed the gap to fourth-placed man Bottas to 24 points with eight rounds remaining.
The 20-year-old Dutchman still has a chance to become Formula 1‘s youngest-ever polesitter, but cedes that it is unlikely to happen at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza.
“Monza is fast, very fast,” Verstappen said. “This makes it great fun but at the same time not ideal for us and our car.
“It is an old school track, one of the few left, so racing somewhere with such history is quite special and I always look forward to going back there. The highlights of the circuit for me are the last chicane, Ascari, and the final corner, Curva Parabolica, “ he continued.
“To nail the last corner is not easy but when you do it feels really nice.”
Red Bull arrived at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps last week with a very aggressive rear-wing setup in order to compensate for the reported 70 horsepower deficit the Renault Sport power unit has to Mercedes-Benz and Ferrari. The same solution is expected to be brought to Monza in a bid to stay competitive.
Whilst Spa saw Verstappen’s fiercely loyal Dutch contingent flood to support his cause, the Red Bull driver is under no illusion that his fans will outnumber the Scuderia Ferrari tifosi – hoping for a first home win in eight years – but hopes to see a strong showing nonetheless.
“I have been to Milan a few times but only for business so I haven’t had the chance to look around,” he added. “But it goes without saying that the food is some of the best.
“The Italian fans will be out in force as always supporting Ferrari, they are very passionate and really good to see. Hopefully the orange crowd will rival the red this year.”