With Mercedes drivers enjoying the luxury of dominant pace, Max Verstappen appears rooted to P3 on the timesheets as he is routinely best of the rest.
The Red Bull driver was third again after qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix, which prompted him to quip, “It seems like I have a subscription to P3 at the moment as I have been there for the whole weekend but we will try to improve on that tomorrow!”
The gap to Mercedes was around half a second when everyone was fully dialled-up for the final shootout in Q3, a deficit that does not daunt the Dutchman, “I think we did a good job in qualifying, extracting everything we could from the car. We know that over one lap we struggle a bit compared to Mercedes but on the long runs it is all closer and we can extract a bit more from our car.
“I felt very happy on the long runs yesterday, with the balance of the car and the wear of the tyres so I hope that will be the same for tomorrow when it will still be warm but not as warm as today. We will try to stay as close to Mercedes as possible, put pressure on them and hopefully we can have a good fight.
“I am confident that we can do a good job. It will be hard to beat Mercedes as they still look very fast but we don’t give up,” added Verstappen.
In contrast, his Alex Albon was simply no match for his teammate all weekend. Once again outqualified by Max, this time by seven-tenths of a second.
The Thai driver said, “I’m not entirely happy with my qualifying as I wanted more but we can have a good race from P6 and it was an improvement over the last two weekends.”
Verstappen is sure to take the fight to the Mercedes, the plan to put them under pressure and then pounce as he did to win the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix last Sunday.
For Albon he needs to emerge from this ‘fight for survival’ mode he is almost constantly in and be on hand to help haul in the points in a season where second place is there for the taking by Red Bull.
Team boss Christian Horner summed up their number one driver’s performance, “Max has consistently extracted everything from his RB16 on Saturdays and lines up third on the grid, his best-ever start position at this track.”
And again defended Alex, “Alex meanwhile continues to show signs of progress as he begins to get more comfortable with the car over one lap and starting sixth on the grid gives us plenty of options in the race tomorrow.”
It will take some smart tactics from the Red Bull pitwall to overcome the pace deficit, but Horner is using the Silverstone victory as inspiration, “We will take the momentum from last week’s win and try to use it to our advantage tomorrow as we look to keep the pressure on Mercedes and have a good fight with both cars.
“The high temperatures we’ve seen today look set to continue and Pirelli have said this will be one of the toughest races this season for the tyres, so hopefully we can give everyone at home a good on-track battle.”