Hat-trick-chasing Max Verstappen wary of Ferrari threat

Max Verstappen in action in Japan

Max Verstappen says he expects Ferrari to pose a substantial challenge as he goes in search of a hat-trick of victories at Formula 1’s Mexican Grand Prix.

Verstappen overhauled Sebastian Vettel at the start of the 2017 encounter to claim honours at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, and last year took the lead on the opening lap to take another win.

But since two wins and a pole position in a four-race spell prior to Formula 1’s summer break Verstappen has added just one podium, with Red Bull lagging behind Ferrari and Mercedes.

“I’m looking forward to going back to Mexico as the last two years have been pretty special there with the two wins,” said Verstappen.

“I really enjoy driving there as well as the track is very different as it’s at high altitude which makes it low grip.

“The corners are also very technical so you have to work hard to make sure you get the best out of it but it’s a good track for us normally.

“I expect it to be a little bit more difficult this year because of the Ferrari pace but I think we can still have a very good race.”

Red Bull team-mate Alexander Albon matched Verstappen’s lap time to the thousandth of a second in Japan and went on to claim fourth in the race, his best result in Formula 1.

“After getting my best result of the season in Japan last week, I’ve got good confidence and direction heading to Mexico,” said Albon.

“Japan felt like my best weekend with the team and we’re gelling more and more so I look forward to carrying that momentum into Mexico.

“Historically it’s been a good track for Red Bull with pole position and a win there last year so obviously that’s positive.

“Like Suzuka, it will be another new track for me but this one looks a little more forgiving!”