You could argue – and many are – that 2019 has been the strongest and most consistent showing from Max Verstappen in his Formula 1 career to date. But despite having scored two podiums this year, Verstappen has never looked in with a sniff of victory – and after taking third place in Spain, he admitted that Red Bull remain a way off rivals Mercedes in the performance stakes currently.
Verstappen knew that he’d need some patience in 2019, as Red Bull began working with Honda for the first time. What he probably wasn’t anticipating were some teething issues in the balance of the RB15 that would make it a tricky beast to drive on the limit – something that has already caught new team mate Pierre Gasly out a few times. And after the Spanish Grand Prix, it appeared that Verstappen was beginning to look slightly longingly at what appears to be an extremely well-sorted 2019 Mercedes.
“I think at the moment, we’re not really better in any corner than Mercedes,” said Verstappen. “[Our car’s] good! It’s not that it’s a bad car – but at the moment, Mercedes is just a bit quicker than us everywhere.
“Medium-speed, high-speed is pretty similar I would say,” Verstappen added. “But again, that depends on downforce levels you’re running every single weekend so it’s a bit difficult to say. But clearly [in Barcelona], they were very strong in the low-speed corners and that is normally pretty good for Monaco as well.”