Max Verstappen is downbeat about the possibility of Red Bull closing the pace deficit to Mercedes and Ferrari in the second half of the season.
Verstappen will be hoping for better luck from the Belgian Grand Prix and beyond after being blighted by reliability issues in 2017, but has been offered good odds by BetVictor.
However, he does not feel Red Bull will have the car, and more specificly the power unit, to compete with the leading duo.
“For us, on tracks with not too many straights I think we are reasonably close, so I think [Red Bull is] around three-tenths [down], more or less,” Verstappen told GPUpdate.net.
“But then of course when you get a few straights in the track I think we’re a bit further away.
“I don’t know what to expect for the upcoming races but of course it will be quite tough for us to really compete against them.
“I expect in Spa Mercedes will be again very strong because in general their power unit is still the best in the whole field, but it’s very close [between Mercedes and Ferrari].”
Verstappen, though, did add that Red Bull will be putting plenty of focus in continuing to develop their 2017 car.
He said: “We’ll keep developing, but the other teams do [as well]; we have to make sure that we do it a little faster and of course better.
“I think from the engine side there is not much coming compared to the other teams where there is still development on both sides [chassis and engine].
“So we have to make sure our car is definitely going in the right direction.”