Fourth place in the Chinese Grand Prix is more than Max Verstappen expected, but the Red Bull driver laments the lack of race pace in the RB15 package which he is hoping improves as the season progresses.
Expectations were high in Australia when the Dutchman nabbed a podium but since then the true pecking order has emerged and with the Honda ‘party mode’ fully dialled-up in qualifying was half a second down on Valtteri Bottas’ pole-position winning time.
A day later in the race, the deficit was pretty much the same as the #33 Red Bull crossed the 56 lap race 27 seconds down on race winner Lewis Hamilton, again about half a second shy of the benchmark pace.
Reflecting on his performance in Shanghai, Verstappen wrote on his website, “We did have another good result points-wise, but during the race, there was not much action. To say frustrating is a bit extreme, but at this moment we lack race pace so then you need to make sure that you extract as many points as possible.”
“The season is still long and we have to hope that, at a certain point, when the upgrades come, we will be able to slot right back in.”
Last year Verstappen clattered into the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel …