Max Verstappen says that his fifth place for the Brazilian Grand Prix was the best result that Aston Martin Red Bull Racing could have feasibly achieved in dry conditions.
The Dutchman managed to get within half-a-second of polesitter Lewis Hamilton at the Autódromo José Carlos Pace and, for a thirteenth time this season. outqualified team-mate Daniel Ricciardo – who has a five-place grid penalty for using sixth a turbocharger this season.
Verstappen said that Red Bull should be content with fifth place after a “good performance” at Interlagos.
“We did the best we could, which was fifth, so I think we should be happy with that,” Verstappen reflected.
“Conditions were a bit tricky but everyone handled it very well in the garage and we came through with a good performance.”
Red Bull did not have the requisite pace on the soft tyres in Qualifying 2 and will start the race on the quicker super-soft tyres, mirroring the Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport duo but contrasting both Scuderia Ferrari cars. The 21-year-old explained that a lack of front-end grip, as well as engine power in comparison to Ferrari and Mercedes, compromised their afternoon.
“We tried to get a quicker lap on the soft tyre in Q2 but just missed out,” he added. “It isn’t a disaster starting on super-softs so we aren’t too concerned.
“The balance of the car wasn’t ideal, we were missing some front grip. If we had it spot on we may have had a small chance of challenging a Ferrari, but when you are losing so much time on the straights it is always going to be a difficult.
“I’m confident the car has a good set-up for the race.”
Current weather forecasts predict a small chance of rain before the race, but cloudy conditions and warmer temperatures during the two-hour window. Verstappen said that warmer weather – or rain – could play into Red Bull’s hands given the RB14‘s kindness on its rear tyres.
“Tomorrow it looks like it will get warmer and therefore tougher on the rear tyres, we should be in good shape as I think this suits us better,” he speculated.
“It is always going to be a hard race in the dry around here so if the rain comes, I think it could play into our hands.”