Max Verstappen has pledged to “fire up” his printer and provide proof to the media that Red Bull’s straight-line speed is related to their rear wing rather than engine.
The Dutchman was speaking after claiming his third pole position of the season at the Styrian Grand Prix, in which he will hope to increase his 12-point advantage over Lewis Hamilton in the World Championship standings.
It was suggested during the post-qualifying press conference that at Red Bull’s home circuit in the Austrian hills, the Honda engine, which was changed for last week’s French Grand Prix, was particularly well suited by the higher altitude.
But Verstappen, whose pole-position time was 0.194sec quicker than Valtteri Bottas, who was subsequently demoted from second to fifth as a punishment for a spin in the pit lane during free practice, insisted his pace was due to Red Bull’s low-downforce rear wing instead.
— Max Verstappen (@Max33Verstappen) June 26, 2021
“I think next time, I will bring a print-out of the rear wing difference we are running and then hand it over to every single journalist,” said Verstappen, who will have Hamilton alongside him on the front row following Bottas’ penalty.
“Because I get these questions [for] two or three weeks now, that we are really quick on the straight, and yes we are. But look at our rear wing. I don’t think it’s exactly the same.
“For sure, Honda did a great job compared to last year. But from our first engine to the engine we have in the car now, it’s all about reliability improvements and no clear advantage on pure power.
“So I will fire up my printer next time and hand over a few shots.”
Verstappen joked that with a threat of rain for this first of two races at the Austrian venue on back-to-back weekends, Red Bull can control the weather at a circuit they own.
“Yeah, I mean of course we own the track, so we can influence the weather around here,” joked the 23-year-old on Sky F1. “I don’t mind [if it rains], to be honest. Both is fine.
“The whole weekend we have been very competitive. In qualifying we made a few changes that went in the right direction and the car was feeling quite good, so very happy to be first here at ‘home’.”