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Red Bull seek improvements to car and engine to catch F1 2019 rivals

What's happened to Red Bull in F1 2019? We haven't got a good enough car, or a quick enough engine, say Verstappen and Horner

Red Bull admit they need to make improvements "everywhere" if they are going to gain on their F1 2019 rivals, with Max Verstappen claiming he is lacking grip from their chassis and top speed from the Honda engine.

The sport's four-time champions came into the season full of optimism, hoping that more power from their new engine suppliers would help them build on a car that was arguably the strongest on the grid last year.

But while Red Bull had three victories from the first nine races in 2018, with Verstappen a winner of the Austrian GP, they head into this weekend's Spielberg race with just two podiums and a best finish of third.

"We are missing two or three tenths," team boss Christian Horner told Sky F1 after a disappointing French GP where Verstappen finished fourth and Pierre Gasly only tenth.

Asked if they were losing time with their chassis or engine, Horner replied: "Everywhere."

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Lando Norris' final lap came to a dramatic end as he was passed by three drivers.

Although Red Bull have frequently battled the under-performing Ferrari this year, they are still much slower on the straights while Mercedes continue to dominate the campaign.

Verstappen, one of the season's most impressive and consistent performers, said he got the maximum from his race at Paul Ricard, where he held off Sebastian Vettel but failed to trouble the top three.

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"Every driver would like more grip, but at the moment it's not only grip it's also top speed," he said after the race.

"You could see on the first lap [in France] that it was difficult to attack but also difficult to defend. We have to work on both sides to make a step up."

Verstappen insists that Red Bull don't have a "fundamental problem", but also that he expected more from Honda's upgraded engine - their third of the campaign which was debuted in France.

"You can see Ferrari and Mercedes have made another step. Renault, too," he said. "I think ours was just not big enough here, so we have work to do."

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Watch as Lewis Hamilton loses control at the French GP during practice and comes back on track ahead of an oncoming Max Verstappen.

Have regulation changes hurt Red Bull?
Verstappen also believes the new regulations for 2019 - which simplified the front wing in a bid to improve wheel-to-wheel racing - haven't helped Red Bull.

"We were really good at controlling everything that was happening with the front wing last year, and the year before," the Dutchman explained. "So they took a bit more of our strength away. We have to fine-tune around it.

"Maybe in the beginning of the season so far we have not optimised that, and we know that. We're trying to get back on top of it."

But can Verstappen secure another surprise Austria win in front of the infamous sea of orange in the stands. He isn't expecting "miracles".

"[The fans] aren't going to give me more power and lap time!" he said.

"Last year we got lucky and we had a better car compared to Mercedes and Ferrari. I'm going to be realistic and say it's going to be difficult."

The whole Austrian GP weekend is live only on Sky Sports F1. Sunday's race begins at 2.10pm with build-up from 12.30pm. Find out more about Formula 1 on Sky Sports

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