Max Verstappen fears despite the new DRS zone at the Red Bull Ring his team will still suffer a straight line speed deficit to its main rivals Ferrari and Mercedes at the Austrian Grand Prix.

While a lack of outright power and top speed is thought to have hampered Red Bull against its front-running opponents at a number of rounds this year, a new third DRS zone in Spielberg was seen as a way the team could find a compromise to loss less time.

Despite splitting the two Ferraris after Friday practice ahead of the team’s home race, Verstappen still feels a lack of top speed with hurt its chances this weekend. Verstappen ended Friday fifth quickest less than one-tenth of a second off Red Bull teammate Daniel Ricciardo.

“We know that we lose quite a bit of time on the straights and even though there is a third DRS zone it is still a bit too much,” Verstappen said. “I don’t think it was a perfect day as we had a damaged floor, something broke off the inside of the floor, so my second practice session I had to run with a floor that was a little bit cut or modified, let’s say that.

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“It was an old floor so we will put on a new one tomorrow but today we had to be a bit limited on that which definitely compromised the downforce of my car. I think in general it was not the best day but there is still room for improvement.”

Verstappen comes into the Austrian Grand Prix with useful moment from three podiums in the past four races as he looks to continue to close the gap at the top of the Formula 1 drivers’ world championship.

The Dutch driver is currently sixth and 15 points behind fifth-place driver Kimi Raikkonen.

Max Verstappen

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