Max Verstappen expects Formula 1's midfield teams to pose a stronger threat to Red Bull than they did at the last race at Mugello.

Red Bull has traditionally struggled at the Sochi Autodrom having failed to score a single podium at any Russian Grand Prix since being introduced to the F1 calendar in 2014.

With Renault finding performance in recent races and Racing Point being a persistent threat, Verstappen is expecting a challenge from F1's midfield teams in Russia this weekend.

“It’s never been an amazing weekend for us in terms of competitiveness so I don’t expect any miracles so of course there’s a lot of long straights and 90-degree corners which are very short corners so you can’t make a massive difference,” Verstappen said.

 

 

“Probably the guys behind, they will be a lot closer compared to Mugello. We’ll see throughout the weekend how competitive we’re going to be but of course, our aim is to try and be on the podium.”

After a run of six consecutive podium finishes, Verstappen has retired from the last two races due to Honda-related power unit issues meaning he now sits 80 points behind runaway championship leader Lewis Hamilton.

The Dutchman believes Honda has got to the bottom of its issues but says it’s now time to do the talking on track to show if it has truly solved its reliability gremlins.

“What was more important at the time was to understand the problems so we can solve them because at the moment we had three retirements in nine races so it’s not very lovely,'' Verstappen added. “We just try and work on that, and try to make sure it’s not happening again.

“I mean they [Honda] explained a lot to me so hopefully it won’t happen again but at the moment we can speculate about it - It’s about time we show it on track.”

 

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