Max Verstappen and Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez expect next week’s round of racing in Singapore to be more challenging for the Milton Keynes-based outfit’s dominant RB19.
The championship leaders will head to the Southeast Asian venue determined to uphold Red Bull’s pristine 2023 track record.
On paper, the venue’s Marina Bay revised and slightly faster layout shouldn’t encumber the bulls, but Verstappen – who has never won in Singapore – is nevertheless wary.
“A little bit more difficult, I think for us,” he said last weekend at Monza when queried on his team’s prospects for F1’s next race.
“But we’ll see. We’ll do our best, and of course we’ll try to go in there and try to win it again. But it’s not, let’s say, going to be the strongest weekend for us.”
Perez agreed with the Dutchman that Red Bull could be facing a tougher situation on the streets of Singapore.
“I agree with Max, I think it’s going to be a weekend where basically anything can happen,” said the Mexican.
“And hopefully we are able to have a very strong Saturday, because if you don’t start on the front row, it’s very unlikely that you will have a shot at the victory.
“So hopefully we can repeat what we did last year there.”
While Verstappen and Perez played down Red Bull’s prospects, Lewis Hamilton felt that Singapore, contrary to Monza, will be better suited to the characteristics of Mercedes’ W14
“I feel like this [Monza] might be the worst one for us,” he said after the Italian Grand Prix.
“Singapore is all high downforce and, when we put our high downforce wing on, we generally are a little bit better. Not as bad as here. So I hope I’m right.”
Fernando Alonso, who concluded his race at Monza a distant P9, also hopes that Singapore’s street circuit will provide a boot to Aston Martin’s AMR23.
“It will be better than Monza, for sure, in Singapore,” commented the Spaniard. “But to win a race? We know how tough it is, with Red Bull being outstanding every Sunday. So let’s see.
“The last two street circuits, in Monaco Alpine was very strong with Esteban [Ocon] with P3 in qualifying and the race, and in Baku it was Ferrari dominating with Leclerc on pole position, so let’s see in Singapore.”
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