Max Verstappen warning to Red Bull and demands improvement

McLaren pushed Red Bull throughout the 66 laps but in the end fell short by 2.2 seconds in Barcelona

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Max Verstappen demands Red Bull improvement as another tough race saw the reigning world champion have to really work for his latest win in the 2024 Formula 1 season after the Spanish GP.

The Dutchman, who took his 61st career victory at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, was beaten in qualifying by 0.020 by Lando NorrisMcLaren but within three laps he had managed to make up for it by taking the lead of the race.

Fortunately, it proved to be the deciding moment throughout the 66 laps as a fast-charging McLaren hounded him down in the final stint but fell short by 2.2 seconds after needing to come through the pack when Norris dropped down to third on Lap 1.

It was the fifth race from five where McLaren have been a match for the champions on pace and Verstappen demands Red Bull improvement as the ground effect era regulations begin to finally close up after two long years.

“I think we’re quite aggressive on the strategy as a team with our pitstop. As whole package performance, we had a good race,” Verstappen said to media after the race, including Total-Motorsport.com. “We really tried to maximise everything, but I do think that we are struggling a bit for optimum pace.

“We lacked a bit in tyre degradation towards the end of every stint, so, it wasn’t a very straightforward, easy race. Lando was catching quite hard at the end but luckily it worked out that it was just enough. I think we are struggling a little bit for that outright pace.

“I felt like we didn’t have the best tyre life today compared to Lando, he seemed like he could push a bit more and in some corners. We were a bit offset at one point with the tyres as well because he went a bit longer in the first stint, but we still optimised everything.

“I can’t really say that we did something wrong in the race, but we just need to try and find more performance.”

Start of the 2024 Spanish Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool
Start of the 2024 Spanish Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Verstappen sends Red Bull Austrian GP warning

Red Bull‘s improvements have appeared to stagnate in recent months, particularly since the exit of their chief technical officer, Adrian Newey, as McLaren, Ferrari and Mercedes all appear to have made substantial gains on the defending world champions.

The reason for why is currently unclear, but it’s likely a combination of more restrictive regulations, the cost-cap and development restrictions, as well as Red Bull’s punishment for breaching the financial rules in 2021, which they had to serve in 2023.

The resulting impact means that whilst Verstappen is still likely to claim the drivers’ championship for 2024, there is the possibility of McLaren, Ferrari and Mercedes taking victories away from him throughout the season.

It’s on that note that Verstappen has issued a warning shot to his team’s designers to bring their A-game to the next round at the 2024 Austrian GP at the Red Bull Ring, a track which he has won at five times since 2019.

“You need to have a good car and a strong car to be able to keep those kinds of performances up,” Verstappen said of his recent success in the sport. “And I think at the moment, we just need to try and find that little bit more to constantly win.

“I think if you look at our last few wins, it’s been more about just being there the right moment at the right time, making the right calls, and being quite strong as team.”

Brandon Sutton
Brandon Sutton
Brandon is an alumni of an NCTJ and BJTC Liverpool John Moores University course, and has been with Total-Motorsport.com for over a year now. He enjoys covering all forms of motorsport but particularly focuses on Formula 1, and Brandon loves to debate various topics of the sport and other interests, especially if that topic doesn't have an open/shut answer such as the GOAT debate.
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