Max Verstappen doubts Red Bull will be able to keep up with Formula 1 rivals Mercedes and Ferrari across the course of this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix despite an impressive showing in practice on Friday afternoon.
Verstappen finished fourth in FP2 for Red Bull, lapping just four-tenths of a second slower than pace-setter Lewis Hamilton and beating current championship leader Sebastian Vettel.
The result gave Red Bull some hope that it may be able to take the fight to the leading teams at Spa, but Verstappen is staying grounded, believing his rivals will move up a gear on Saturday for qualifying.
“An OK first day back here at Spa but nothing special. Between Daniel [Ricciardo] and myself we tried a few setups to improve speed on the straights, it’s somewhere we need to improve in order to fight so we are trying to find a good compromise,” Verstappen said.
“At the moment we don’t seem too far off the two top teams but it is only Friday, I’m sure it will be a different gap tomorrow. It’s hard here to find the setup to be competitive on the straights but also balanced in the corners, we will make some steps in the right direction tonight, hopefully.
“In the dry I think we will be the solid third team like we have seen so far this season. Although it’s raining at the moment I don’t think there is much more forecast. This is a shame as it would definitely help us; fingers crossed we get a bit more for the race.”
Verstappen is racing in front of a sizeable crowd of fans from his native Netherlands at Spa, something he is already excited by.
“There is already a lot of orange to be seen in the crowd and it’s only Friday,” Verstappen said.
“I’m expecting to see a lot more tomorrow and Sunday which is really great and nice to see so many fans supporting me.
“It always helps come race day.”