Max: 'Our car is quick in race-trim, we want to win'
Published on 25 July 2019 by Stefan Meens
As a heatwave is scorching mainland Europe, including the Hockenheimring in Germany, Max Verstappen found a cool spot in the Red Bull Energy station to address the international press. “I sweat a bit more, but that’s it. I’m not really affected by the heat. Hopefully the high temperatures work in our favour. For Sunday, rain and more normal temperatures are expected. So, whatever we try on Friday, won’t give us much info for the days after that.”
In the past, rain suited the Max Verstappen-Red Bull combo. “It’s difficult to say if I’d prefer rain. I haven’t really driven the RB15 in the wet this year.”
Regardless, Max is looking forward to the Hockenheim race. “It’s a great track, especially the last sector, the stadium section, is cool. It’s a typical European track with a rich history. It’s a shame we don’t use the old lay-out but it’s still great to race here.”
Looking back to the previous race, the British Grand Prix in Silverstone, Max remained calm after finishing fifth after Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari crashed into the back of RB15. “Vettel told me after the race he made a mistake. I was disappointed not to be on the podium but it is what it is. In China I was the one who made the mistake and disadvantaged his race and he stayed calm too. Of course, you don’t want it to happen but it’s part of racing.”
Nevertheless, Max was disappointed he was not able to maximize his result. “It’s a shame we weren’t able to show our real pace. I was in traffic or fighting for position during the whole race. When I was finally in clean air, Vettel hit me. I think we could’ve been second. Our car is quick in race trim and we’re improving.”
Based on recent performance, it appears the gap to Ferrari is closed. “We’re close to them, but we haven’t passed them. We can take the fight to them but they’re still very fast on the straights so it’s difficult to get by them. It’s difficult to beat them in qualifying but we’ve improved greatly in the race. Our chassis and engine have both improved and we have few issues which is positive.
Nevertheless, the Dutchman remains realistic. “The biggest challenge is closing the gap to Mercedes. We want to win. We’re getting closer but we’re not fast enough. We’re working hard to close the gap.”