Max Verstappen says that Red Bull's last year's RB16 car was not easy to drive, but that it is not as hard as it seemed and as the media portrayed, and that there are much worse and more demanding cars. Red Bull have traditionally started the season badly after bringing a new aero package to the first race of the season in Austria that did not show the expected results, and the team wandered between different aero specifications for almost half the season to understand the problem.
Verstappen and Albon attracted attention already in the pre-season tests where they had several sudden losses of control at the rear end which unpredictably lost downforce depending on different ground distances, but the car’s behavior improved as the season progressed.
The Red Bull was on average convincingly the second fastest car behind Mercedes, and Verstappen regularly pulled out a lot more than Albon who could not adapt to the unpredictable rear end. “I think it’s exaggerated in the media,” Verstappen commented on the behavior of his RB16 for Autosport.
“We had the second fastest car. I think there are a lot of harder cars to drive. ” "We've had a few turns in pre-season testing, and when you're driving at the border the car isn't easy to drive if you understand what I mean?" "Maybe ours is a little harder to drive compared to Mercedes, but it's probably easier than driving Williams."
"So I think it's a little exaggerated in the media, I've never had a feeling that way."
Verstappen finished third
Verstappen finished third for the second season in a row behind two Mercedes, but unlike last year when he had nine podiums in 21 races (42.86%) this year, he was much more often among the top three (11/17 or 64.71%) because the Ferrari has dropped drastically.
Verstappen thinks that he could have achieved a much better result if his car had been at the same speed as Mercedes, but he is also aware that it is difficult to compete with a car that is much faster. “I think I was better, a little more constant,” he said.
"But yes, I've had a lot of races I've been to alone… I just love following Mercedes!" "The car wasn't bad, but we still lack some speed compared to Mercedes." “I’m not frustrated, but sometimes I feel powerless. But I'm still trying to get the best possible result, which I did in most cases. "