Max Verstappen says it is pleasing that Aston Martin Red Bull Racing are maximising their potential, at least on his side of the garage, on the back of a second-place finish in last weekend’s British Grand Prix even if they are not on the same level of performance as the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team.
Verstappen drove a lonely race at Silverstone and was on course for a third-place finish on Sunday until Valtteri Bottas suffered a puncture that saw him drop down the order. The Dutchman pitted in a bid to get fastest lap, but this left him too far behind Lewis Hamilton when the second Mercedes driver suffered a puncture on the final lap.
“We’re maximising our results every weekend,” said Verstappen. “I guess even more so actually because we’ve finished second in the last two races so that has been good.
“Of course, we’re still lacking quite a bit of pace to them, especially in qualifying but also in the race on tracks like Silverstone, so we haven’t really been able to fight them for victory but we are keeping the pressure on them.
“Of course, we got lucky with Valtteri’s puncture that dropped him outside of the points, but I just keep doing what I’m doing and pushing every weekend.”
Verstappen admits it was nice to be on the podium after a crazy conclusion to the British Grand Prix, and heading into the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix at the same circuit this weekend, it gives the Dutchman some motivation to better that position on Sunday.
Pirelli are bringing softer tyres to the second Silverstone weekend which, if last weekend is anything to go by, could see more variety in pit stop strategies.
“It’s still good to be on the podium and you never know for the upcoming weekend what can happen, the end of the last race was pretty crazy!” admitted Verstappen. “The tyre compounds this weekend are going to be softer, the weather is going to be warmer and the strategy could be different so I’m looking forward to it.
“We’ve had a week at Silverstone now so everyone knows what they’re doing around the track, so let’s see if we can learn even more about the car and try to improve it further. It’s always good to be at the same track so you can back to back a few things on the car to see what they do.
“Of course, you still have to be a little bit careful with the conditions as they can be different but overall I think it’s a good thing and I’m sure the engineers like to collect this sort of data.”
Verstappen hopes to make it difficult for Mercedes at Silverstone and hopes to pressurise them further to ensure they put themselves under more pressure than they would be if they were running away with the race.
However, he remains cautious amid the realistic pace of the RB16 at this time of the year, even if the car is beginning to be more predictable to drive.
“Hopefully we can put the pressure on and there are still a lot of races left this year,” said the Dutchman. “We have to be realistic about where we are on pace at the moment and fighting them for victories and the championship under normal circumstances is quite tricky but the car is getting better, it’s more predictable, so if we can keep in touch then there is always a chance.
“We’ll keep pushing to close the gap and we will try not to make life easy for them.”