‘Clipping’ hurting Red Bull on the straights

Jamie Woodhouse
Max Verstappen PA

Max Verstappen

Max Verstappen says Red Bull find it hard to match their rivals for energy release down the straights at certain tracks.

The Dutchman qualified in his traditional P3 spot for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, though he was hoping to be closer to Mercedes rather than over half a second adrift.

He almost didn’t make Q3 at all, but the incredible work of the Red Bull team to fix a broken spark plug during Q2 allowed Verstappen to escape elimination.

But 2020 has been inconsistent at times for Red Bull. At certain races, like the Nurburgring and Portimao, Verstappen was able to give the Mercedes a challenge in their ultimately successful pursuit of pole.

Yet here at Imola the Austrian outfit have taken a step backwards.

But Verstappen thinks the team suffer from “clipping”, a term used to describe the ERS system running out of extra power before the end of a straight. But not everywhere, instead it is track specific.

“Where you are, for example, clipping a lot, it seems like we are a bit more prone to that,” he told RaceFans.net.

“So of course you lose a bit more lap time on the straights.

“Maybe compared to last year as well, it seems like last year from qualifying to the race we would gain a bit, and it seems like maybe now qualifying [is] a little bit better and then in the race, we struggle a bit more with that. But it’s not on every track.”

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However, Verstappen doesn’t think this issue contributed to him finishing 34.5 seconds behind race winner Lewis Hamilton at the Portuguese Grand Prix.

Likewise his poor opening lap at the Algarve International Circuit also couldn’t be blamed on ERS.

“The last race, I just find it very tricky to comment on that one because of, first of all, the first lap but also the Tarmac and everything, I was on a different strategy. So I don’t think there is a trend,” he explained.

“I just see that when you are a bit more limited with the energy you can use over a lap in the race it seems like we don’t have the same amount of release, at least on the straights, so we’ll have to work harder to try and improve that.”

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