Max Verstappen doubts he can continue to fight with Mercedes and Ferrari at the front of the pack through the remainder of the Belgian Grand Prix weekend, predicting that Red Bull’s Formula 1 rivals will pull clear on Saturday in qualifying.

Verstappen finished an impressive fourth in second practice at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on Friday afternoon, lapping just four-tenths slower than Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and finishing ahead of Ferrari’s championship leader, Sebastian Vettel.

However, the Dutchman was downbeat following FP2, believing that Red Bull’s pace was flattered and he’ll be further adrift come qualifying, having tinkered with his setup and gone in a different direction to teammate Daniel Ricciardo.

“I think the car itself was actually quite alright. Of course you can always improve but it was not too far out,” Verstappen said.

“But we lose too much on the straights at the moment so that’s why you could see Daniel trying a different philosophy but also that seems to be quite difficult for us.”

When asked about the tight gap to Mercedes and Ferrari, Verstappen said: “Yeah, well, wait until qualifying! The second they will turn up their engines…”

Verstappen is hopeful that more rain will hit Spa as it did towards the end of FP2, giving him more of a chance to take the fight to Mercedes and Ferrari.

“For sure I will hope for it,” Verstappen said.

“At the moment it doesn’t look like it, but you never know.”

 

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