Honda surely improved its engine in the last few years in terms of power, but Max Verstappen thinks, that Mercedes is still ahead in the energy deployment aspect.
In qualifying Red Bull looks to be the fastest car, but during the race, Mercedes seems to be still on top. However, the battle is always very close, and every detail matters.
“In general, I think the Mercedes engine is still a bit better in terms of the energy you can generate over a lap,” explained Verstappen.
“In terms of pure power, we are up there. Sometimes it just depends on how the car is set up, and, in that respect, Portimao was just not optimal for us for whatever reason.”
Christian Horner also admitted that Honda did a great job in developing the engine over the winter to close the gap with Mercedes.
“Honda has done a super job,” said Horner. “I think we can measure that they’ve matched where Mercedes were at the end of last year.
“They’ve thrown a huge amount of effort into this year, their last year in the sport. So they intend to go off on a high note. I’ve been impressed with the effort that they’re putting in.”
In terms of the chassis, Max believes that the two teams are very close, and the gap is not as big as in the last seasons. Therefore, he said that the difference could be in the setup choice and finding a good balance.
“Well, I have always said that the cars keep evolving, which means that we constantly have to get the best out of them,” he said.
“Sure, there are always strengths and weaknesses, but I think it’s more about finding a good balance in the car. That is not always easy. Mercedes also drove with different wing settings with both drivers [in Portimao], so it’s difficult to say.”