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Verstappen jealous? Red Bull star talks up Renault power mode after McLaren gains

Verstappen jealous? Red Bull star talks up Renault power mode after McLaren gains

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Verstappen jealous? Red Bull star talks up Renault power mode after McLaren gains

Verstappen jealous? Red Bull star talks up Renault power mode after McLaren gains

Max Verstappen pointed to McLaren's "power mode" from their Renault engine as a difference maker after Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz pushed him hard in qualifying for the French Grand Prix. Verstappen qualified marginally ahead of the Red Bull pair at Paul Ricard.

Red Bull have taken Honda power units in 2019, tying up with the Japanese manufacturer a year after McLaren dumped them for Renault – Red Bull's old supplier.

It has made comparisons between the teams intriguing, and McLaren certainly appear to have closed the gap in Le Castellet, with Norris and Sainz regularly outpacing Pierre Gasly and giving Verstappen food for thought as he has struggled to keep pace with Ferrari, themselves adrift of the almighty Mercedes.

Though Verstappen expects to maintain an advantage in the race, he suggested McLaren – and Renault – may begin to make moves in qualifying, perhaps also sending a message to Honda to up the one-lap pace.

"We are normally better in the race," Verstappen said of McLaren's surge. "They have a power mode in qualifying, quite a strong one, so I should be alright."

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Verstappen also put forward other theories for McLaren's apparent gain, suggesting he was not at top pace in Le Castellet on Saturday.

"They are doing a better job compared to the beginning of the season, they are catching up," he said. "Of course when you are so far behind it's easy to close that gap but to find the last few tenths is hard.

"Also in my final run in Q3 I think we could have been closer to Ferrari but I had a weird behaviour in the last two corners so that was a bit of shame.

"When you look at last year as well it was not an easy track for us.

"Especially with the difficulties we had this morning I think the car we had in qualifying was not that bad. But we lose a lot of time on the straight. [And] also, having said that, from the car performance, we are not extracting the most out of it."

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