Verstappen not expecting "straightforward and easy" Italian GP against Mercedes

Max Verstappen says Formula 1 fans should not "expect it to be a very straightforward and easy" Italian Grand Prix for Red Bull, because of Mercedes's Monza pace so far.

Verstappen not expecting "straightforward and easy" Italian GP against Mercedes

Verstappen will start Sunday's race from pole position because of sprint race winner Valtteri Bottas dropping to the rear of the field thanks to Mercedes giving him a fourth 2021 engine ahead of Friday evening qualifying, which the Finn also topped.

Lewis Hamilton, who finished the sprint race in fifth after making a poor start, reckons Verstappen's position at the head of the pack for the grand prix allied with the two McLarens starting in between this season's two title rivals means "it should be an easy win for him".

Hamilton was unable to repass McLaren's Lando Norris despite pressuring his fellow Briton for most of the sprint race.

But Verstappen insisted Red Bull will not have an easy ride at Monza on Sunday because of the strength Mercedes has shown so far across the event.

"It was a good day for us [on Saturday]," Verstappen said in the post-sprint race press conference.

"[I got a] good start and from there onwards I tried to of course follow Valtteri around, even though in general I think we lacked a little bit of pace to really mount a challenge.

"But I just tried to stay in the tow a bit and yeah from our side it was good. Again, two points scored and of course starting first tomorrow.

"I still don't expect it to be a very straightforward and easy race.

"Because Valtteri [is] coming from the back but of course Lewis is starting in P4. They have a lot of pace. We'll see what we can do again."

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B

Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

When asked how important it was to take pole at Monza, where the sprint race did not feature much overtaking, Verstappen replied: "If you get cleanly through Turn 1 and 2 of course it's very good.

"It's quite a decent run to Turn 1, but overall if you just have a good start it should be enough to defend. Let's see tomorrow."

Read Also:

Verstappen also said there was "not really" any additional unknowns for F1 teams caused by the sprint event timetable taking away one third of the practice time scheduled for every event in 2021.

"We had FP2 where we did long runs," he explained about how prepared the teams are for Sunday's race.

"And of course we did the race now. I think it's pretty straightforward. We know what we have to do, we know where we are lacking.

"But of course you cannot change that [because set-ups are locked in from Friday evening qualifying by the parc ferme rules] so we'll just try to do the best we can in tomorrow's race."

shares
comments

Related video

Brawn defends Monza F1 sprint race, saying it had "plenty of action"

Previous article

Brawn defends Monza F1 sprint race, saying it had "plenty of action"

Next article

Alonso suggests return of one-shot qualifying to help F1 sprint races

Alonso suggests return of one-shot qualifying to help F1 sprint races
Load comments
The times that suggest Verstappen should be confident of F1 Russian GP recovery Plus

The times that suggest Verstappen should be confident of F1 Russian GP recovery

For the second race in a row, Mercedes has ended the first day of track action on top. It’s in a commanding position at the Russian Grand Prix once again – this time largely thanks to Max Verstappen’s upcoming engine-change grid penalty. But there’s plenty to suggest all hope is not lost for the championship leader at Sochi

The ‘backwards step’ that is the right move for Formula 1 Plus

The ‘backwards step’ that is the right move for Formula 1

OPINION: With its days apparently numbered, the MGU-H looks set to be dropped from Formula 1’s future engine rules in order to entice new manufacturers in. While it may appear a change of direction, the benefits for teams and fans could make the decision a worthwhile call

Formula 1
Sep 23, 2021
The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots Plus

The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots

Team Lotus ceased to exist in 1994 - and yet various parties have been trying to resurrect the hallowed name, in increasingly unrecognisable forms, ever since. DAMIEN SMITH brings GP Racing’s history of the legendary team to an end with a look at those who sought to keep the flame alive in Formula 1

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2021
Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background Plus

Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background

OPINION: Formula 1 reconvenes for the Russian Grand Prix two weeks after the latest blow in ‘Max Verstappen vs Lewis Hamilton’. While the Silverstone and Monza incidents were controversial, they thankfully lacked one element that so far separates the 2021 title fight from the worst examples of ugly championship battles

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2021
How F1’s other champion to emerge from 1991 thrived at Lotus Plus

How F1’s other champion to emerge from 1991 thrived at Lotus

Mika Hakkinen became Michael Schumacher’s biggest rival in Formula 1 in the late-90s and early 2000s, having also made his F1 debut in 1991. But as MARK GALLAGHER recalls, while Schumacher wowed the world with a car that was eminently capable, Hakkinen was fighting to make his mark with a famous team in terminal decline

Formula 1
Sep 21, 2021
The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey  Plus

The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey 

Before Michael Schumacher – or anyone else – had driven the 191 (or 911 as it was initially called), Eddie Jordan turned to a fellow Irishman to test his new Formula 1 car. JOHN WATSON, a grand prix winner for Penske and McLaren, recalls his role in the birth of a legend…

Formula 1
Sep 20, 2021
The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog Plus

The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog

A podium finisher in its first outing but then never again, the BRM P201 was a classic case of an opportunity squandered by disorganisation and complacency, says STUART CODLING

Formula 1
Sep 18, 2021
The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from Plus

The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from

OPINION: The headlines were dominated by the Italian Grand Prix crash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, who had the halo to thank for avoiding potentially serious injury. But two days earlier, Formula 1 had a lucky escape with a Monza pitlane incident that could also have had grave consequences

Formula 1
Sep 17, 2021