Despite his best efforts, Max Verstappen said Red Bull were just “too slow” to deny Mercedes at the Styrian Grand Prix.
Verstappen qualified P2, albeit 1.2s slower than pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton in the wet, and throughout the race they remained in that order with Hamilton controlling the gap.
And Verstappen said it was just “not possible” to trouble Hamilton for the win, or deny Bottas.
“I tried but we are a bit too slow,” he said after the race.
“I did what I could also when Valtteri passed me. I tried to make it a bit difficult, because he was anyway going to get by one lap later.
“But at least it was a bit fun because the race was boring. [The] podium was good but still a lot of work to do.”
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And if Red Bull are to close the gap to Mercedes who have won the opening two races, Verstappen says the team have work to do and so do Honda in the engine department.
“I was just pushing as hard as I could to stay with them, but clearly it is still not good enough,” he added.
“The gap compared to the guys behind were massive. I was a bit shocked. I tried everything I could, but it’s still not enough. We still have some work to do.
“But to bounce back from zero points last week to a podium now is a good start, but I think as a team we want to win and we want to fight for the championship. If you want to fight for the championship of course you need to win races.
“We need to look into it. I think we lose quite a bit on the straight as well, so it’s a bit of both at the moment. We need to keep on working harder to try and close the gap.”
Verstappen’s team-mate Alex Albon finished P4 and said that both of them share the same views on where Red Bull are currently lacking to Mercedes.
“We lacked a bit of pace this weekend so we just need to check where to find the time,” he told Sky F1.
“But we think we know, I am happy with P4, it’s good to get some points after last week.
“I think it will be hard to be quicker than them [Mercedes] now, they are really strong in the long, high-speed corners which is a bit like Hungary so we need to work on that.
“Max and I think we have the same areas where we know the car is weak.”