Max Verstappen is remaining “realistic” over his Formula 1 title chances this season but says he “won’t give up” until it’s mathematically out of reach.

Following a sixth podium finish in succession in 2020 at Spa-Francorchamps, Verstappen sits second in the drivers’ championship - trailing Lewis Hamilton by 47 points.

Red Bull consultant Helmut Marko is quoted as saying: “Verstappen can still become world champion, that's our goal for the season,” by German publication SpeedWeek, while team boss Christian Horner said after the race at Spa: “We have an outside chance in this championship.”

When asked about his chances of winning the title this season, Verstappen said: “Well we won’t give up but I am very realistic that at the moment we are just slow, we need luck to win races. I’ve actually gained some points back. At the moment it looks like we’re still in the championship fight but every race I am losing more or less seven points, at one point it will be a very big gap. Like I said, just being realistic. It’s good.

“Every single weekend I of course try to get the best out of it. It’s not like I am down or anything, but be realistic. In Spa again, we were half a second slower a lap compared to them so you can’t really fight them at the moment.”

For this weekend’s race, teams will no longer be allowed to alter which engine modes they use during qualifying and the race - a move which is expected to negatively impact Mercedes-powered teams especially.

Verstappen is unsure of the impact this will have in terms of performance and believes it will have little impact in the race when it comes to overtaking and defending.

“Well hopefully not too much,'' Verstappen said. “I don’t think for us - the party mode - was that big. I don’t think we will lose a lot of power there. The other teams, difficult to say so we will see in Q3 how it’s going to be.

“I see two Mercedes cars in front of me which most of the time I am not able to get in the DRS from. It probably is the same. To be honest it just makes everything a bit easier, not that it was very difficult before but you just stay in one mode in the restart or the start and it’s a bit better I guess.

“After qualifying normally we are not allowed to change anything on the car but we were allowed to of course change the engine modes so I guess if you want to go in that same direction I guess it’s a good thing to do that as well with the engine.”

 

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