9 April 2015
F1 Chinese Grand Prix: Verstappen keen to taste latest Renault improvements
Having opened his F1 points account in Malaysia last time out, Toro Rosso teenager Max Verstappen is hoping further Renault engine developments can keep him ahead of the pack in China.
Max Verstappen is hoping that the latest developments to the Renault F1 engine will be enough to guide him to a second points haul of 2015, even though Toro Rosso may face greater opposition in the midfield.
Having been robbed of a score on his debut in Melbourne last month, the Dutch teenager finally opened his account in Malaysia, setting a new low as the youngest driver ever to take points in an F1 race. While he acknowledges that Toro Rosso's better handle on tyre wear in the heat of Kuala Lumpur may have enabled it to edge away from its rivals on that occasion, Verstappen is confident enough to consider a repeat in a considerably cooler China this weekend.
“I think [the Shanghai track] will suit our car in terms of performance – it's not so hard for the tyres here and I think we have a great car to manage the tyres,” he explained. “However, we lose a bit of our advantage here compared to Lotus, Force India and Sauber – they were struggling a bit more in Malaysia with tyre management - so it will be closer in qualifying for sure. They have a very long straight here and, for sure, that's not the best part of the track, but Renault has some improvements here and I am quite confident that we can do a good job again and score points.”
The Renault engine has been a bone of contention in the opening two rounds, with Toro Rosso and sister team Red Bull struggling to match the Mercedes and Ferrari runners for both pace and driveability. However, with further improvements promised for Shanghai, Verstappen is eager to discover what difference they may make.
“The driveability [in Malaysia] was 100 times better, so I was really happy,” he announced, “They did a good job, [although] I didn't expect them to make such a big step from one race to the other, so that was quite impressive.
“In Malaysia, it was quite hot so, in terms of performance and horsepower, it was a bit difficult to say [whether they improved] as you always lose performance [in those conditions]. I think we will see here the performance they had and, again, they say they have improvements so I am looking forward to seeing what they have brought.”
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