‘We NEED to step it up’: Max Verstappen calls on Red Bull to improve in the final races of the season as they try to catch Mercedes – who are 36 points clear in the constructors’ standings
- Max Verstappen regained top spot of Formula One drivers’ standings last week
- Verstappen finished second in the Turkish Grand Prix ahead of Lewis Hamilton
- But Valtteri Bottas’ win in Istanbul means Red Bull trail Mercedes by 36 points
- The 24-year-old wants his team to ‘step it up’ in the final few weeks of the season
Max Verstappen claims Red Bull need to ‘step up’ for the rest of the season if they are to challenge Mercedes in the Formula One constructors’ standings.
After Sunday’s Turkish Grand Prix in Istanbul, the Dutch driver currently leads the way in the drivers’ title race but his Red Bull side are still 36 points behind Mercedes in the team table.
Verstappen highlighted that the most recent F1 races have taken place on tracks that are better suited to Mercedes, such as Monza and Sochi, but has called on his team to improve their overall game by the end of the current season.
Max Verstappen (above) has called on Red Bull to ‘step it up’ next season against Mercedes
Verstappen leads Formula One’s drivers’ rankings but Red Bull are 36 points behind Mercedes
The 24-year-old told Sky Sports: ‘Of course overall I think we have been at tracks that naturally were a bit better for Mercedes but then this track was a bit unknown and clearly they were ahead of us.
‘I do think we need to step it up a bit to be in the fight until the end of the season.’
A good start to this current campaign gave the impression that Verstappen and Red Bull had the fastest car this season. The Dutchman won three Grand Prix races in three weeks – one in France and two in Austria – over the summer which exerted his and his team’s dominance on the current season.
Verstappen (left) finished second in Sunday’s Turkish Grand Prix behind Valtteri Bottas (right)
In the first week of July, Verstappen held a 32-point lead over Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton at the top of the individual standings while Red Bull were 44 ahead of the Silver Arrows in the constructors’ table.
But both the Dutchman and Red Bull allowed Hamilton and Mercedes back into the race in the summer and autumn months, which has created a topsy-turvy title race as the final weeks of the season await.
Sunday’s Turkish Grand Prix saw Verstappen finish second behind Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas, a blow that was softened by the Dutchman’s Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez take the final spot on the podium, with Hamilton in fifth.
The Dutchman wants Red Bull to improve for the final races of the current Formula One year
Red Bull chief Christian Horner admits he is ‘surprised’ by the speed of Mercedes’ car this season, especially in the straights, and Verstappen admits his team are resorting to cutting their losses while trying to compete against the Silver Arrows.
‘Of course they’ve sorted their car out so it’s a bit more obvious that top speed they have,’ added the current Formula One leader. ‘There’s not much we can do.
‘It’s what we have to live with, it’s not going to magically disappear but of course we’ll try to minimise the damage on the straights.’