Red Bull’s performance in testing has reignited the three way rivalry between Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull. With Mercedes winning the constructor’s championship for the last 4 years, Red Bull have done their benchmarking with respect to the German team.
Verstappen feels that Red Bull needs to be within 0.3 seconds of Mercedes’ one-lap time in order to be competing for the F1 title.
“We have to be closer,” Verstappen said.
“Once you are within three or four tenths in qualifying, at least you can fight them in the race because normally in the race it should be a bit closer. We are definitely targeting to be in those three tenths.” he added.
While Red Bull did not have a good start to their 2017 campaign, they got better as the season progressed winning two races towards the end to close the gap at the top.
Red Bull wants its qualifying to be spot on and is apparently trading some downforce for straight line speed gains, as there has been a significant enough ‘horsepower gap’ between Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes.
“From the beginning of 2017 to the end our car was already a massive difference, so we expect to be a lot closer.
“I don’t know how close we will be, but we will find out in practice and qualifying in Melbourne.” Verstappen said.
Verstappen has been putting in long hours in testing, recording a whopping 187 laps on the 3rd Day of Test two.
He is happy with the car and is rearing to go in Melbourne.
“From my feeling it [the long run pace] was actually alright, but we have to wait and see. Melbourne is a different track again. But I think we can be happy.
“The most important for us is to look ourselves, to improve the car, and to do a lot of laps, and that is what we did today.” he concluded.