Max Verstappen: Red Bull can be pleased with Ferrari battle

Max Verstappen says he and Red Bull can take positives from the team’s level of performance compared to Ferrari during Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix.

Ferrari had been expected to fight for this year’s Formula 1 title but has languished behind Mercedes and instead found itself challenged by Red Bull at Barcelona.

Sebastian Vettel qualified just a tenth clear of Verstappen and the Dutchman went on to beat both Ferrari drivers in race trim, having overhauled Vettel through Turn 3 on the opening lap.

Verstappen’s second podium finish of the year lifted him to third in the championship as the highest-placed non-Mercedes driver.

“I knew that we could take the fight to Ferrari as in qualifying we were already very close,” said Verstappen.

“I think my race was also decided in lap one, to overtake Seb around the outside in Turn 3.

“That was good and from there onwards I could just do my own pace.

“I was trying to follow the Mercedes cars but they were clearly a bit too quick.

“But I’m very happy to be on the podium and also back in third in the championship, so that’s pretty positive.”

On the updates Red Bull brought to the Spanish Grand Prix, Verstappen said: “Well, it’s good, but not as good as Mercedes did. We clearly still need to work harder and bring better things to the car.

“But it’s good to see that I think we closed the gap to Ferrari and I’m happy about that.”

Red Bull team-mate Pierre Gasly classified in sixth position.