Max Verstappen says he does not understand recent run of form between Ferrari and Red Bull because Ferrari in Monza had less advantage than expected while in Singapore they were more competitive than expected.
Ferrari took their first victory of the season in Belgium after a huge qualifying advantage over everyone else, but Mercedes was much closer in the race and Hamilton threatened Leclerc in the last laps.
In Monza, which is the fastest track in the calendar, Ferrari did not have big advantage over their rivals as Leclerc barely won pole position and kept Mercedes drivers at bay in the race, but in Singapore they surprised everyone and won another pole position and their first 1-2 win of the season, the first since the 2017 Hungarian GP.
Verstappen says he is baffled by the unexpected run of form between Ferrari and Red Bull, because on the fast Monza he expected Ferrari to dominate and he didn’t expect their strong performance on the streets of Singapore, although he recalls that they had always been competitive there.
“If you are looking at the start of the year and maybe Hungary [where Ferrari was far from Mercedes and Red Bull], then I am surprised [by Ferrari’s form in Singapore],” Verstappen said ahead of the Russian GP.
“But if you look at the history of Singapore, they have always been competitive there.”
“With the amount of power they have, it’s easier to be fast. But if you look at Monza you’d expect them to be a second ahead of everyone else, but they were not.”
“That’s why it’s very strange to me how it all turned out.”
“We thought we would really be struggling at Monza, but I could have had the same qualifying as in Singapore [had it not started from the back of the grid because of a new engine].”
“It’s a little bit weird. I don’t understand what was good in Monza and what was bad in Singapore.”
Verstappen confirms simulator error in Singapore
Helmut Marko said for Austrian television ORF that Red Bull in Singapore had the wrong suspension settings suggested by an otherwise very reliable simulator, and Verstappen confirmed that theory in Russia.
“We went in a different direction than last year and it didn’t turn out how we wanted,” he said.
“Probably some little things in the simulator could have been better.”
“I think the simulator has helped us a lot, but that one weekend where it didn’t work out can happen. Unfortunately, it happened in Singapore, but we will analyze everything to improve it for next season.”