Red Bull’s Max Verstappen is ruing what he has described as an ‘off weekend’ for Red Bull at 2021 Portuguese Grand Prix.
Despite enduring a consistent weekend in which he finished second in both Friday Practice sessions and qualified third on Saturday, Verstappen admitted that his RB16B “really does not suit” Portimao as he scrapped his way to second in Sunday’s race.
Having struggled around the Algarve International Circuit last October, Verstappen admitted that “grip and overall pace” were two of his biggest issues as he took salvation from finishing ahead of Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas.
Verstappen though felt that his performance “wasn’t quite good enough” in order to get Lewis Hamilton to take the race win, whilst admitting that he expects a “up and down” season in terms of characteristics at different circuits suiting Red Bull and Mercedes.
With Formula One visiting Circuit de Catalunya next weekend for the first time this season after pre-season testing was moved to Bahrain, Verstappen feels that the sport will “… see a clearer picture of how teams have been progressing.”
Perez Endured ‘compromised’ Race
Perez endured “a busy race” in which he initially lost fourth to Carlos Sainz on the first race start, before briefly losing position to Lando Norris shortly after the safety car restart on lap seven.
The Mexican eventually seized the lead of the race from lap 38 for 14 laps until Hamilton caught and passed him, with Perez proceeding to make his stop on lap 52 as he unsuccessfully pushed for fastest lap on soft tyres.
Reflecting on how his race went, Perez admitted that getting stuck behind Norris “compromised” his race with the damage done in getting stuck behind the Brit for seven laps which meant that fourth was the “maximum” that he was able to achieve.
Perez though feels that he is “definitely making good progression” in his RB16B with a stronger understanding, although he believes that he still need to improve in some aspects.
‘Marathon and not a sprint’
Red Bull Team Principal, Christian Horner feels positive about his team’s performance in Portimao this weekend, as Verstappen sits just seven points behind Hamilton after three races.
This season though has another scheduled 20 races to run subject to Coronavirus forced changes, which coupled with the current points difference has made Horner admit that the title fight will be “a marathon and not a sprint.”
Horner though rued the complexity of track limits which cost Verstappen the point for fastest lap, whilst Perez was legally overtaken by Norris despite the Mexican feeling that the Brit had made his overtake illegally.
Those small irksome moments have left Horner feeing that track limit rules “need to be consistent throughout the race weekend.”
Horner though is pleased with Perez’s progress with the Mexican’s races slowly starting to come together after managing to match the leaders on pace once in clean air after his early scraps.
With Spain often being the race where the true pecking order begins to emerge and coming up next weekend, Horner is hoping for “… a clearer picture of the strengths and weaknesses of all the cars.”