"Super nice to overtake a Ferrari," admits Verstappen


Just when you thought Ferrari's weekend couldn't get any worse, up popped Max Verstappen to rub the prancing horse's nose in it, at a time every man and his dog was convinced the Italian team was the one to beat.

"This goes to show that you cannot deduce anything from testing," says Verstappen on his own site, two days after his drive to a podium place in Melbourne, Honda's first since 2008.

"Everyone thought that Ferrari would be very strong," he continued. "I even think Ferrari themselves were a bit surprised that they were not so fast after all, but on the other hand, Melbourne is a quite strange circuit."

Losing out to Mercedes in every practice session, 0.7s off Hamilton's pace in qualifying, being split by Verstappen in Q3 and almost taking one another out in the first corner, the hot favourites heading into the Melbourne weekend suddenly found themselves, once again, support act to the Mercedes stream-roller.

And just when Seb thought it couldn't get any worse - other than being subsequently pressured by his teammate - the German found himself under attack from the Honda-powered Red Bull of Verstappen.

The end result was inevitable, and just six laps after pitting for fresh rubber the Dutchman swept past the Ferrari.

"We had the ‘party mode' on and you see that," he says, "regarding the top speed, everything is alright. For Honda it was also super nice to be able to overtake a Ferrari on track."

Asked if he had the urge to keep using the 'party mode', now that he finally has it, he admits: "No, because then you know that the engine won't last."

Though he was unable to pass Hamilton, when asked how the Mercedes compares to the RB15, he reveals: "I have to say that the medium corners were not very optimal for us, I am talking about the fourth and fifth gear corners, they could have been a bit better."

And looking ahead to Bahrain...

"We still need to wait and see, of course it's a completely new car and we could perform well on that circuit. Normally speaking, our car doesn't have any issues running there."

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Published: 19/03/2019
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