Verstappen cools talk of Red Bull dominance in Spain


Max Verstappen expects Barcelona’s track to better suit Red Bull’s RB20, but the Dutchman has downplayed talk of his team resuming in Spain its early season dominance.

Red Bull suffered two defeats in the last four races, with McLaren’s Lando Norris winning his maiden Grand Prix in Miami and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc prevailing on home soil in Monaco.

Norris was also snapping at the heels of Verstappen at Imola, while a strategic misstep in Montreal may have deprived the Briton of sealing his second career win in F1.

Overall, Red Bull no longer enjoys the significant advantage over its rivals that allowed Verstappen to dominate with ease.

Additionally, the RB20 has shown a specific weakness on tracks requiring cars to effectively navigate curbs, such as Monaco and Montreal.

But this weekend’s return to a more traditional layout at the Circuit de Catalunya has raised expectations that Red Bull will resume its clear-cut supremacy.

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However, Verstappen has pushed back on that assumption as he anticipates a competition in Spain much tighter than it was in the season's early races.

“No, I don’t think it will be like the beginning of the season,” Verstappen said.

“But we know that normally this is a track our car should suit a bit more, and we’re excited, of course.

“I’m aware that everyone has been catching up a lot, everyone is quite confident, but if you compare this to the last few races that we have done, this should be a better track.”

Race winner Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing RB20 celebrates at the end of the race. 09.06.2024. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 9, Canadian Grand Prix, Montreal, Canada, Race Day. -, EMail: © Copyright: Bearne / XPB Images

While heightened expectations might be in order, Verstappen stressed the importance of clean execution on the part of his team.

“It’s difficult to say. People are constantly improving, and sometimes you just have a better weekend than others with the way you set up the car,” he explained.

“Because at the end of the day, you can bring upgrades but if you don’t put the right setup on the car… I mean, look at F2 right? The same car, but there’s still a big difference in teams and operations. So also there, you can make mistakes.

“That’s what we need to get right. Normally, naturally this car should suit the track a bit better. But still we need to make sure it’s in the right balance window.”

Despite the advancements of Red Bull’s rivals, Verstappen insists his team isn’t feeling any additional pressure.

“It’s not tension. We always want to do well, and we also know that other people are pushing flat out,” he said.

“We just need to make sure we have a good weekend like we always want to have. Let’s say it doesn’t go to plan, let’s not go overboard, right? We just keep working and keep trying to be better.

“There’s still so many races where you could score a good amount of points. But of course, here we really want to do well.”

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