Verstappen: Still tough to beat Mercedes at F1 Sakhir GP without Hamilton

Max Verstappen believes it will be "very tough" for Red Bull to beat Mercedes in Bahrain this weekend even in the absence of Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton

Verstappen: Still tough to beat Mercedes at F1 Sakhir GP without Hamilton

Seven-time world champion Hamilton will miss this weekend's Sakhir Grand Prix after testing positive for COVID-19 on Monday.

His place at Mercedes will be taken by Williams regular George Russell, who will partner Valtteri Bottas.

Red Bull driver Verstappen has finished second to Hamilton on five occasions this season, but did not believe the absence of the Mercedes driver would improve his chances of winning in Bahrain.

"There is no Lewis, but there's Valtteri and George, driving the fastest car in the field," Verstappen said.

"It will still be very tough and not easy, especially with the layout we have.

"Lap times will be very close, also with the guys behind us from last week. I don't expect it to be very easy out there."

F1 will use the high-speed outer loop layout of the Bahrain International Circuit for the first time this weekend, promising lap times of under 55 seconds and just four braking points.

Red Bull tended to struggle on the low downforce tracks earlier in the 2020 season, particularly at Monza.

"[The layout] will only help the cars which have a lot of power, so I expect it to be a little bit more difficult for us," Verstappen said.

"I really hope it's not going to be like Monza, but we have to wait and see. The track of course is a bit different compared to Monza. There are still I think a few corners where you can make a bit more of a difference.

"Monza you run really low downforce, everyone runs very, very low downforce. You just really lack on the straights.

"I think here there will be a bit of difference in terms of downforce levels. But yeah, let's hope and pray it's going to be better."

Verstappen finished second in Bahrain last weekend, but was left unhappy that Red Bull had not been more aggressive with its race strategy.

The Dutchman said the team had reviewed and discussed it, and was hopeful of a bolder approach this weekend.

"I just commented on last weekend that we were a bit conservative, so I can only really comment on that," Verstappen said.

"We have analysed it, and I think that's good. We'll see what we can do this weekend, see if we can do it better."

shares
comments
Magnussen: Chance to win motivated IMSA switch after F1 exit
Previous article

Magnussen: Chance to win motivated IMSA switch after F1 exit

Next article

Grosjean recounts F1 Bahrain GP crash escape

Grosjean recounts F1 Bahrain GP crash escape
How Ferrari’s Monaco headache became its Silverstone migraine Plus

How Ferrari’s Monaco headache became its Silverstone migraine

OPINION: Ferrari won the British Grand Prix with Carlos Sainz, but it ultimately cost Charles Leclerc a chance to make a bigger dent in Max Verstappen's title lead by leaving the Monegasque out on old tyres towards the end. Like Monaco, indecision over strategy proved to be the Scuderia's biggest issue - and if the team doesn't reflect, the headache can only intensify

The five factors behind Sainz winning a British GP he’d twice lost Plus

The five factors behind Sainz winning a British GP he’d twice lost

Formula 1 has a newest race winner, in a grand prix the victor appeared to have lost twice, only to charge back to headline a sensational and dramatic British Grand Prix. From a massive start crash to a late sprint finish, here’s how five factors saw Carlos Sainz take his maiden grand prix win

Formula 1
Jul 4, 2022
Why there was no case to answer in Aston’s latest F1 copycat saga Plus

Why there was no case to answer in Aston’s latest F1 copycat saga

The appearance of a revised Aston Martin in Spain caused controversy but PAT SYMONDS explains why the FIA investigation found the Silverstone team had no case to answer

Formula 1
Jul 3, 2022
Why it's Red Bull that really leads a three-way fight so far at Silverstone Plus

Why it's Red Bull that really leads a three-way fight so far at Silverstone

After a slow start to Friday at Silverstone, all the Formula 1 teams had to effectively cram in a day’s worth of practice into one hour. But there was still plenty to learn and while Ferrari topped the times, a three-way battle is brewing ahead of the British Grand Prix

Formula 1
Jul 2, 2022
Why the future is bright for the British GP Plus

Why the future is bright for the British GP

It wasn’t so long ago the situation looked bleak at Silverstone with the future of the British Grand Prix under threat. But a transformation has seen it restored to one of the most important races on the Formula 1 calendar, with bigger and better to come

Formula 1
Jul 1, 2022
Could mixed fortunes for F1's leading Brits turn around at Silverstone? Plus

Could mixed fortunes for F1's leading Brits turn around at Silverstone?

For the first time in many years, none of the local racers starts among the favourites for the British Grand Prix. But George Russell, Lewis Hamilton and Lando Norris could have reasons for optimism

Formula 1
Jun 30, 2022
Verstappen exclusive: Why F1’s champion isn’t fazed by Silverstone return Plus

Verstappen exclusive: Why F1’s champion isn’t fazed by Silverstone return

Max Verstappen is the world’s number one racing driver… and he’s determined to keep it that way. Speaking exclusively to GP Racing's OLEG KARPOV, the Red Bull driver explains why he’s relishing the 2022 championship battle with Charles Leclerc – and why he’s not worried about returning to Silverstone, the scene of the biggest accident of his career last year

Formula 1
Jun 30, 2022
Why Red Bull’s RB17 hypercar can help its F1 team Plus

Why Red Bull’s RB17 hypercar can help its F1 team

On Tuesday, Red Bull laid out its plans to develop and build a new hypercar - the RB17 - penned by Adrian Newey. As the project itself sates Newey as a creative outlet, it also offers Red Bull's Formula 1 team a number of new and exciting avenues to pursue

Formula 1
Jun 29, 2022