Max Verstappen admits Red Bull have not been good enough at Australian GP
Verstappen fifth in qualifying, over a second behind Hamilton; Ricciardo crashes out
By Jonathan Green
Last Updated: 30/03/17 11:26am
Max Verstappen says Red Bull have not been competitive enough at the Australian GP and that qualifying fifth was the best he could do.
The RB13 had been predicted to be Mercedes' closest challenger in 2017 following the overhaul in F1's regulations but both cars struggled with balance on Saturday.
Throughout winter testing Red Bull appeared behind Mercedes and Ferrari and that has proven true in Melbourne.
Verstappen admits Mercedes and Ferrari are on another level to Red Bull and says a good start is his best chance of improving on fifth in Sunday's race.
"Of course it was not good enough but after a troubled weekend ... basically I saw it coming after winter testing, this is the best we could do," Verstappen told Sky F1.
"[We have] a tricky balance on the car. All the time when we were changing something it was changing quite a lot, in terms of oversteer or understeer, and basically not having the pace.
"We are still down on power but also, in terms of grip level and things, we are not on the same level compared to Ferrari and Mercedes yet.
"Our best hope tomorrow is a clean start because we don't have the pace to challenge the Ferraris and Mercedes. I'm realistic. So probably a very lonely race as behind me there is also quite a big [pace] gap."
Red Bull were third and fourth in Friday's first practice session but have been off the pace ever since, despite bringing a number of revisions to their car from testing.
Team boss Christian Horner echoed Verstappen's comments that they were playing catch up to Mercedes and Ferrari.
He said: "The pace at the sharp end is just a little bit too much for us at the moment."Watch the 2017 F1 season on Sky Sports F1 - and in Ultra HD for the first time! Get Sky F1 for the new season!