Toro Rosso has second-best chassis in F1, reckon Verstappen, Sainz

Max Verstappen believes Scuderia Toro Rosso has the second-best chassis on Formula 1 grid

Toro Rosso has second-best chassis in F1, reckon Verstappen, Sainz

The Faenza-based team has, like sister outfit Red Bull, been held back by the limitations of the Renault engine this year but the 17-year-old driver is adamant its chassis would be second were it to have parity on power.

Asked how good he felt the chassis itself was, Verstappen replied: "P3, behind Mercedes [drivers].

"Also, when you have a fast engine, your chassis gets better as well because it's easier to drive.

"Sometimes, you go a bit over the limit in terms of traction and other things to try and gain one or two hundredths that you will lose on the straights.

"When I compare high-speed performance, if we had the [best] engine, I think we would be P2 [behind Mercedes]."

Team-mate Carlos Sainz shares Verstappen's positive impression of the car, although he suspects that it would stack up third most of the time.

But he does suggest that it would be able to take on second-fastest Ferrari on occasion.

"We look at GPS data after every session and compare ourselves with Ferrari, Williams and even Mercedes," said Sainz when asked by AUTOSPORT about where the car would be with a stronger engine.

"After watching our data from Barcelona, I'm convinced that this car, with a very decent engine, will be fighting with Williams and, on some occasions, with Ferrari.

"That's why I keep praising the guys and saying what a hell of a job they are doing, because to produce a car that is capable of fighting against these two teams is really impressive.

"We looked at the data and Turn 3 and Turn 9 in Barcelona, only Mercedes was quicker than us.

"For a rookie to feel like that, with only Nico [Rosberg] and Lewis [Hamilton] faster, was a great feeling!"

Both drivers' comments suggest that they see the Toro Rosso as superior to the Red Bull.

Verstappen suggested this was because Red Bull finds it harder to hit on the perfect set-up to extract the most from the car - accepting that when the larger team does and Toro Rosso fails to, it is sometimes stronger.

"For them it is a bit more difficult to find the sweet spot of the car and for us it's a bit more all-round," he said.

"When we go to higher-downforce tracks, we were quite strong compared to Red Bull - only they have more people so they sometimes maybe set up the car a bit better.

"But in general, our car is very close to the Red Bull."

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