Red Bull driver Max Verstappen believes Honda has made “a good step forward” with its latest Formula 1 engine upgrade.

Honda introduced its ‘Spec 4’ power unit at the Belgian Grand Prix last weekend but only Alexander Albon and Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly took on the new engine, with Verstappen and Daniil Kvyat following suit in Monza and taking subsequent grid penalties as a result.

Verstappen set the fifth-fastest time and was only 0.372s slower than Friday pacesetter Charles Leclerc ahead of this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix.

“It was a good day,” Verstappen said. “Of course, the conditions were a bit tricky out there, but the car was working really well and we seem quite competitive on a track that doesn’t normally suit us.

“Around Monza, the real lap time is hard to see because of the tow but my fastest lap was done on my own and it felt good. I definitely think this new engine is a good step forward and you can feel the extra power which is positive.

“We know we won’t battle in qualifying as we will start at the back but looking at the long runs the pace was good and the car felt really nice to drive in all conditions which is always a big bonus.

“I would probably choose rain for Sunday starting at the back, as we will have a better chance of coming through the field, but even in the dry we can still be competitive and we will try to make a fun race out of it.”

Teammate Alexander Albon ended the day sixth-fastest and less than three-tenths of a second slower than Verstappen.

“We had mixed conditions, so we started out quite slowly but built up our confidence throughout the day,” the British-Thai driver explained.

“We are expecting similar conditions on Sunday so that is why everyone was out there trying to do some laps. I found the short runs were more positive than the long runs and, after today, I have a good idea about the things I need to change and work on for Sunday’s race.

“Of course, it’s not easy adjusting to less downforce, the braking feels different, but overall it didn’t feel too bad.

“I’m just finding my feet and that makes it important to get everything right. We will see what tomorrow brings but after today I’m feeling pretty good.”



Loading Comments...