Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Shanghai International Circuit, 2017

Red Bull have a “big gap” to close – Verstappen

2017 Chinese Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen admits Red Bull need improvements from more than just their Renault engine to get on terms with Ferrari and Mercedes.

Data from qualifying in Melbourne showed Red Bull were consistently down on the minimum cornering speeds achieved by Lewis Hamilton’s pace-setting Mercedes – an area where the team have previously been strong.

Verstappen, the team’s leading driver on Saturday, qualified 1.3 seconds off pole position. Speaking in China he said it’s “a bit difficult to say” how long Red Bull will take to catch their rivals.

2017 Australian Grand Prix in pictures
“It’s quite a big gap. But I’m quite confident that we can definitely close it in the upcoming races to within a second. And then we’ll see when we get the bigger updates also from the engine side.”

“We can improve the general balance,” Verstappen continued. “In qualifying it felt pretty good but we need more load. More grip, more power.”

“And it’s a bit of both: You try to make an efficient car on the straights to make up for the loss of power there. But now we just have to focus on getting the car in the right window and then hopefully we get the right upgrades from the engine side as well.”

The 19-year old, who finished 28 seconds behind Australian Grand Prix winner Sebastian Vettel, said he felt able to cope with the increased physical demands of the 2017 cars.

“Sebastian is travelling a second faster every lap so for sure it’s more physical,” said Verstappen.

“It was actually alright. I trained quite a bit more in the off-season period. For me it felt pretty similar to last year but probably it’s also I’m still getting older and stronger just by myself.”

“So it was alright. I didn’t have a drink bottle as well.”

2017 Chinese Grand Prix

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    Keith Collantine
    Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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    18 comments on “Red Bull have a “big gap” to close – Verstappen”

    1. I think its time people take off their rose tinted glasses. Every year you hear how Red Bull are the masters of Aero, well technically it’s all down to Newey apparently. Constantly blaming the Renault engine for their lack of success, which has played a part but not the full story. One thing that seemed to slip by a lot of the press and fans was the change in nose regulations from 2014 to 2015 really hurt Red Bull and Horner himself said after the first 7/8? races that they had finally got the same downforce from the new nose compared to the old one. Yet throughout these races Red Bull were claiming it was nothing but the Renault engine.

      One of the main reasons the Red Bull was so dominant was due to the blown diffuser (please tell me if i’m wrong) and Renault had a big hand in that.

      Newey has made some amazing cars, he has also made some terrible cars. So much was expected of Red Bull because of this image they have and in my opinion an image they have not deserved as they have no evidence in the past 3 years their car is significantly better Aero wise.

      1. Forgot to add, Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull all spend ALOT of money in this sport, Red Bull is the only one who can put ALL of the money towards Aero, Ferrari and Mercedes have an engine to build at the same time.

        1. Well…not entirely. The Renault PU has been unquestionably inferior, and when that is the case the aero isn’t working as well as it could either. A second per lap more pace and they’d be doing different things with aero. Any team would take Newey in a heartbeat if he was motivated to be with them. And unless RBR gets free pu’s they’re still spending money on that category. Ferrari and Mercedes have no shortage of money to do both pu’s and aero, especially Ferrari with their mega bonus just for being Ferrari.

    2. Thanks captain obvious.

      1. Journalist asks driver question > driver replies > reporter posts headline with two quoted 3-letter words out of the entire answer > internet commenter criticizes driver for casually saying those two 3-letter words.

        And we complain that drivers are too PR-friendly…

        Gotta love the internet.

        1. You took the words right out of my mouth. Thanks :)

    3. Journalist asks driver question > driver replies > reporter posts headline with two quoted 3-letter words out of the entire answer > internet commenter criticizes driver for casually saying those two 3-letter words.

      And we complain that drivers are too PR-friendly…

      Gotta love the internet.

    4. “So it was alright. I didn’t have a drink bottle as well.”

      Given a choice between that and Red Bull, I can’t blame him.

    5. This is the first time we heard of the drink bottle issues, isn’t it?

      1. The question is: Was it an issue or a deliberate choice? The wording leaves room for both interpretations.

        1. It is impossible that it was a deliberate choice. Healthwise, the drivers should drink because of the huge amount of fluids they lose during a race due to the physical strain they go through.

          1. Micheal (@shakengandulf)
            6th April 2017, 15:42

            Not impossible.. just unlikely.

            1. @shakengandulf Yeah, unlikely. But I wouldn’t count on health considerations, there are some nasty stories behind the measures drivers have to take to keep their weight, which make spending 90 minutes in the car without drinking look harmless. Gary Hartstein has alluded to this subject on his blog (unfortunately, he spends too much of his time being an airhead, so you have to take everything he writes with a pinch of salt), and we hear about water bottle malfunctions in the hottest races all the time (implying that this happens all the time, but it isn’t usually a problem), but I can’t remember any drivers abandoning a race because of that (in the modern era).
              Melbourne wasn’t the hottest of races, and it isn’t one the most physically demanding tracks, either. So I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the teams didn’t at least evaluate the pros and cons of not adding a water bottle.

        2. @nase @shimks, I’m pretty sure it was deliberate. The RB13 is still a bit overweight. The team and drivers will want to minimize that, so every kilogram counts. Australia isn’t the toughest or hottest race. It’s fully possible Verstappen chose to do the race without the extra weight of the bottle, it’s content and the drinking system.

          1. @me4me
            My thoughts exactly, I’d even say that the team decided that for Verstappen (if he did indeed not have any water bottle).

        3. @hahostolze, @shakengandulf, @me4me and nase

          It just shows you how wrong one can be! I was so positive of my opinion!!

          “The drinks bottle may have been left out to save weight. Red Bull uses Renault’s power units which are still running with their heavier, 2016-specification MGU-Ks due to reliability concerns.”

          1. Sorry: and to Sjees

      2. I’m only guessing but maybe it was deliberate. Because they had to go back to the 2016 spec of the MGU-K they also had to install a small airtank in the current chassis. If this is the reason he will be without drink bottle until Canada when the 2017 spec should be ready.

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