Max Verstappen: 'We're not in contention for pole position in Australia'
Max Verstappen doesn't believe Red Bull will be in a position to fight for pole position at the season opening race in Melbourne next weekend – a fight be believes will be between Mercedes and Ferrari.
The Dutch driver believes Ferrari have made enough of a gain over the winter to challenge champions Mercedes, but isn't entirely sure of where Red Bull stacks up in the pecking order.
"It is always hard to say who now has the better car, but it is very obvious that Ferrari is stronger than last year," he told his personal website.
"Mercedes is always up there as well. I think that they are not showing their true potential. The past years that was also the case."
Although Verstappen is confident Red Bull can make gains during the season and eventually find themselves in contention for race wins, he expects that will take a few races and doesn't therefore head to Australia with the thought of taking pole position.
"For us, it’s hard to say. Personally, I think that we aren’t the best team yet, but we need to wait and see. After qualifying in Australia we will be able to see how it is, based purely on speed.
"In any case, we are not heading off to Melbourne with the thought of being able to take pole.
"At this moment, I think that Ferrari and Mercedes will be at the front, but hopefully, like last year, we’ll gradually get into a better rhythm. We can do better, compared to last year, albeit we need to work hard to achieve that. In any case, I will do my best and we will see where we stand."