Red Bull Racing‘s Max Verstappen expects a challenging Italian Grand Prix weekend ahead, with grid penalties looming for the Dutch driver.
Verstappen heads to Italy on the back of a disappointing Belgian Grand Prix, where he was involved in a opening corner incident with Alfa Romeo Racing‘s Kimi Räikkönen. The contact by Verstappen damaged his front left suspension, ending his race when he crashed at the top of Raidillon.
The Dutchman’s retirement marks an end of an impressive twenty-one race streak where Verstappen has finished inside of the top five.
The Italian Grand Prix often serves a challenging weekend for Red Bull, due to its long straights and going against Red Bull’s philosophy with its aerodynamic packaging.
The weekend will also see Honda fully introduce its Spec-4 engine. Verstappen’s team-mate Alexander Albon and Toro Rosso Honda driver Daniil Kvyat used the new engine at Spa, but meant they would have to start at the back of the grid.
Honda plans to have the remaining Red Bull drivers of Verstappen and Pierre Gasly use the new engine but would mean the two would fall to the back of the grid. The engine showed impressive signs, with both Albon and Kvyat manage to cut their way through the field to a fifth and seventh-place finish.
Verstappen expects the weekend to be a challenge for himself and his team but feels excited to tackle the high-speed nature of the Monza circuit.
“It was a weekend of mixed feelings in Spa and it definitely put things into perspective but I’m glad we have back-to-back races so we can get straight back on it this weekend,” said Verstappen.
“Monza is super-fast which makes it great fun to drive but it can also be a challenge for us and like Spa, it isn’t our strongest circuit on the calendar.
“For me, the best parts are the high-speed sections and to nail the last corner is not easy but when you do it feels really nice. Monza has so much history around it and the fans are some of the most passionate we see all year.
“There is plenty of red in the grandstands but hopefully the orange army will also be out to support us in full force this weekend.”