Max Verstappen is confident that Red Bull will be able to challenge Mercedes in Saturday’s Sprint and Sunday’s British Grand Prix, after the energy drink backed squad was bested in qualifying.
Having held a sizeable advantage over the entire field following Friday’s sole practice outing, Verstappen was the favourite to end qualifying as the fastest driver.
However, it was Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton who topped the timesheets at the end of the session in front of his home crowd, with Verstappen less than a tenth behind.
Red Bull has dominated the previous five rounds, with Mercedes left without a pole position or victory since May’s Spanish Grand Prix.
With the Brackley-based squad in a prime position to take pole position on Saturday around Silverstone, Verstappen believes Red Bull will remain in contention.
“It’s a bit of a weird feeling to be honest,” Verstappen said after Friday qualifying.
“You do qualifying, you go flat-out and actually it doesn’t really mean anything in terms of pole position feeling, so we’ll see tomorrow.
“I think we have a strong race car, we just need to fix a bit the issues we had in qualifying, but I’m quite confident that we can have a strong race.
“We just need to look at ourselves because the car itself was actually handling quite well but just a lot of understeer.
“I couldn’t really attack any corners, just waiting for the front to grip up – a bit of a weird feeling to be honest to drive.
“I don’t think it was set-up or front wing related. It is what it is. We’re still quite close, it’s alright.”
Saturday’s pole position fight, which will be settled across a 17-lap race, will also award championship points to the top three finishers.