On the long straights, the Turkish Grand Prix showed that Mercedes had a significant advantage over the competition. The top speed of the W12 car looks promising, Max Verstappen has to admit. “We didn’t quite know where we were at this track, but it quickly became clear that they are faster than us,” he admits to Sky Sports.
“There has to be a little extra to stay in the title fight for the rest of the season,” expects the Limburger. With six races to go, Verstappen is at the top of the Drivers’ World Championship, the difference with title rival Lewis Hamilton is nil. The Brit is six points behind Verstappen.
The advantage may just lie with Mercedes in the final races of the season, Verstappen warns. “It’s very clear that they fully understand their car, and it’s even more obvious that they have more top speed, there’s not much we can do about that.” This does not mean that the chances for the world titles have disappeared at Red Bull.
“This is something we have to learn to live with, it doesn’t even magically disappear,” Verstappen continues. “But of course we try to limit the damage on the long straights.” Previously, Red Bull already drove with less downforce than Mercedes, in order to compensate for the higher top speeds of the German racing stable.
While a set-up with lower downforce may no longer make the difference, Red Bull may still be able to score at the tracks where they always come out strong. The GPs of Mexico and Brazil, both of which are still on the program, are usually favorable for Verstappen and the Austrian team.