‘Night and day’ difference for Red Bull at Mugello

Date published: September 13 2020 - Mark Scott

Max Verstappen has insisted 2022 is too far away to rush into a decision about his Red Bull future following Honda’s decision to pull out as their engine supplier.

Max Verstappen says the difference is “night and day” for Red Bull between Monza and Mugello as he prepares to take the fight to Mercedes.

The Italian Grand Prix was a weekend to forget for the Dutchman and his Red Bull team. He only managed to qualify P5 for Sunday’s race, which ended in a DNF and ensured he could not beat his career-best run of six consecutive podium finishes.

But fast forward a week and Red Bull are having a much better time at the marvellous Mugello circuit. Both Red Bull cars are on the second row and the 0.365s gap between Verstappen in P3 and Hamilton on pole is the closest qualifying margin between Red Bull and Mercedes so far this season.

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“Luckily from the start I think the car was in a good window. Night and day difference compared to Monza, but of course at Monza downforce levels and everything is very different,” Verstappen said.

“So I felt very happy in the car. It was all about fine-tuning things and, of course, trying to do things better – but overall it’s been a very positive weekend so far. We were reasonably close to them now, in qualifying so yeah, can be happy with that.

“Q3, I expected a little bit more from Q3 but my first run wasn’t, let’s say, the best lap of my life. It wasn’t bad – but it wasn’t the best. And then yeah, I wanted to push a bit more in the second run.

“Even when I was close to Lewis, so bit more in a tow but, like Lewis said, I think the wind picked up, so yeah, I think the track was just a bit slower. I still managed to improve a little bit, so it meant, I think, there was still a little bit more in it – but not four-tenths, I think it was, or whatever.

“Anyway, I didn’t expect to beat them in qualifying but I’m pleased that we are back in third in qualifying and actually yeah, not too far away.”

Verstappen, though, is not expecting much in the way of overtaking at Mugello, but is hopeful he has the pace to track Mercedes in order to put more pressure on the strategy being spot on.

“Well, for once we have quite decent top speed now this year, so I think that’s quite good around here,” he added.

“But it won’t be easy to pass but at least the track, the last few corners, they are a bit wide and long so you can do a few different lines – but it’s all going to depend, anyway, first of all on if you have the pace to follow, and second of all, of course tyre degradation.”

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