They are still not challenging for pole, but Red Bull were certainly a lot closer in Spain on Saturday. And with Renault engine updates on the way to accompany Red Bull’s chassis upgrades, it’s perhaps no surprise Max Verstappen was in positive mood after securing fifth on the grid in Barcelona…
Q: Max, this is the smallest gap to pole you’ve had so far this season. That looks like a significant improvement… Max Verstappen: Absolutely. We went forward. Before qualifying we were still a bit in search of the right balance with the new upgrades, but in qualifying we were really spot on. It was by far the best Saturday afternoon that I’ve had this season. (Laughs) I am really happy. It was a good qualifying.
Q: Now that you know the chassis updates are working pretty well, do you think that when the Renault engine upgrade arrives you can turn the season around? MV: When you think where we’ve come from, to now be behind by less than six-tenths, that’s a massive step forward. Now we have to keep on pushing on the car side and await what comes from the engine side. Unfortunately we cannot control that. But definitely things look much more positive at the moment.
Q: Have you been told when the engine upgrade will happen? MV: No. I just wait and see.
Q: When you look at the car upgrades, where particularly do you see improvements? MV: Everywhere. The car is in a much better balance from the entry to the exit of a corner. Before we were struggling in certain phases - that is all history now. It is much more stable and you can push much more. Now we have a basis we really can start to work on. If you look at the last sector, I was third quickest - that is pretty cool news!
Q: Will you be able to hang on to the cars in front tomorrow, or will it be a lonely race all by yourself? MV: Normally we’ve always been better in the race so far and the temperature should be good for us. And if we can hang on or not? We’ll have to wait and see.
Q: What will the strategy be? MV: We will discuss this this evening. My engineers are experts in calculating all those things.