Max Verstappen’s verdict on Red Bull catching Mercedes at F1 70th Anniversary Grand Prix
Max Verstappen admits he’d be ‘dreaming’ if he imagined Red Bull would be much closer to Mercedes at Sunday’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix. F1 will this weekend celebrate seven decades of racing at the iconic Silverstone Circuit.
Mercedes underlined their supremacy in Northamptonshire last Sunday and are odds-on to win a record seventh constructors’ championship this season.
The gulf between Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas’ W11s has been embarrassing, at times, with more than a second between the pole-sitting Brit and Red Bull’s Verstappen in qualifying for the British Grand Prix.
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The Dutchman had a pair of tyre blowouts to thank for ending this year’s first race at Silverstone in second place.
And he admits he’d be living in fantasy land if he was to think Red Bull could make up serious ground this Sunday.
“[The gap is] so big, c’mon!” said Verstappen. “Maybe you find a tenth, or one-and-a-half, OK and we are a bit closer – but it’s not close enough.
“I’m trying but it’s not possible at the moment. You have to be realistic. I mean you can dream, and you can hope but I think it’s way more important to be realistic because that’s how you move forward.
“If you keep dreaming about those chances, it’s not going to happen. We just have to keep working.”
Mercedes will this weekend be desperate to avoid a repeat of the tyre delamination drama which threatened Hamilton’s hopes of winning a seventh British Grand Prix and saw Bottas drop down the field to finish down in 11th.
They and their F1 rivals are expected to implement two-stop strategies at Silverstone, particularly with Pirelli set to hand them softer compounds this time around.
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Verstappen cannot, however, see that having much of an impact on how the race plays out, with Mercedes again tipped to be the class of the field.
“I think everybody will probably end up doing a two-stop you know?” said Verstappen. “I don’t think it will change a lot.
“Also, for me, I don’t think there will be a lot of changes to the way I will be driving. So I’ll probably be counting some sheep next to the track.”
Verstappen is currently third in the World Drivers’ Championship standings, with 36 and six points respectively the gap between him, first-place Hamilton and second-place Bottas.
Verstappen’s team-mate Alex Albon is sixth, while Red Bull are second behind runaway leaders Mercedes in the constructors’ table.
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