Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Sochi Autodrom, 2020

Verstappen predicts tough fight with Renault for third

2020 Russian Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by

Max Verstappen is concerned about the pace of Red Bull’s rivals Renault after the first day of practice for the Russian Grand Prix.

Almost half a second separated Daniel Ricciardo’s Renault, in third place behind the two Mercedes, and Verstappen’s Red Bull in seventh. Alexander Albon could only manage 12th in the other RB16.

Verstappen also had a spin during today’s second practice session. “I think in general we know this track is not the best for us,” he said. “But we were also trying out some downforce levels and seeing what is the best option.

“Second practice could have gone a bit better but like I said we are testing things out, some worked, some didn’t, so it gives us a few ideas for tomorrow.”

He is unsure Red Bull will be able to come out ahead of Mercedes’ challengers. “It will be tough in qualifying to be third,” he said. “In the race it looks a bit more competitive, I’m happy about that. But there’s still a bit of work to do to make sure we are in third.”

“I think Renault, so far today, they have been very competitive,” he added. “And you never know who else.

“But I think first of all we have to look at ourselves and make the right trade-off with downforce levels and make sure the car is stable. I am quite confident that quali will be tight but I think we can be in the fight.”

Verstappen’s team mate Alexander Albon says the pressure from the team’s midfield rivals has grown this year.

“We knew it was going to be hard,” he said. “The midfield have obviously made a big step since last year so it’s a bit more tight.

“It didn’t feel bad, it’s just that everyone’s very fast. We need to do some homework and find out where we can gain little bits.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2020 Russian Grand Prix

Browse all 2020 Russian Grand Prix articles

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

13 comments on “Verstappen predicts tough fight with Renault for third”

  1. Daniel looks faster. Iā€™m not surprised he used to beat Max in almost equal cars šŸ˜€

    1. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
      25th September 2020, 19:08

      Yeah, the handful of times he managed it with full focus before he chickened out because he got his butt whooped were indeed nice.

      Going to be nice to see Lando beat him to an utter pulp from next year onwards as well, showing how much he really is worth!

      1. Yes, ricciardo is good but not as fast as verstappen.

      2. Looks like @Rott touched a nerve there :-D

  2. geoffgroom44 (@)
    25th September 2020, 17:31

    2019 Alex came from pit start to P5. 2nd practice today only 2/10 behind Max. Not sure if RB are sandbagging but it’s looking very intersting to see what Alex and Max can do in the race,not forgetting that Alex managed-with a superb overtake-to pass Danny Ric the other week for his first podium, so if Renault have made such progress then that overtake needs some explaining..tyre deg?

  3. Are the renaults faster than rp?

  4. I’m still betting on towards Max finishing a comfortable third.

    1. @jerejj yep, it’s an increasingly safe bet at every round to me too.

      I’d love to know if RB really do focus everything around him in setup, development and strategy, or if he’s just that good.

      1. Just read back my own comment and realise I look like somebody detracting from Max’s talent. That absolutely wasn’t my intention but I fear I’ll just dig myself further into my hole by talking more.

        He probably really is that good. Maybe better.

  5. I wonder if Daniel would have made the switch had he had half a season to see the progress that Renault have made. Not that McLaren are not doing well, its just that the jump seems bigger for Renault. Is there a clearly better team based on performance between the two at the moment?

    1. Yes, there is. McLaren. In Monza they were 2nd best team on merit and they are either the best midfield team or close to it in every race.

      Even yesterday McLaren was P4 and P5.

  6. I think RIC might be the 2nd fastest driver on the grid these days. Definitely in the top 5. Love to see him in a Mercedes.

  7. Great to see Renault mixing it with Red Bull.

    Seems Ricciardo’s surprise team move is going to pay off after all. His reputation will be right back if this continues, and then he leaves before Alonso ruins it again.

Comments are closed.