Verstappen: Ferrari may be too quick for Red Bull in Japan
Max Verstappen has played down Red Bull's chances of delivering a home win for Honda at the Japanese Grand Prix, pointing out that Ferrari may be too quick to stop at Suzuka.
Honda-powered cars have not scored a single point in Japan since the brand's return to F1 in 2015, with three 11th-place finishes in four races rubbing salt in the wounds.
Red Bull took engine penalties in Russia last time out and will have use of new fuel in Japan, with Dr Helmut Marko having targeted a win to cap the team's first year alongside Honda.
However, Verstappen – a podium finisher in Japan every year with Red Bull – was quick to point out Ferrari's strength.
"I've had a lot of good results at Suzuka with second and third place podiums but never a win, so obviously we would love to go one step higher," he said.
"It's a lot of fun to drive and I really enjoy it, but I also love Suzuka in general. The circuit is very historic and also very narrow and fast, so it's important to use all of the track. You need to find the right balance and have a good flow between Turns 3, 4, 5 & 6 because if you take one corner wrong, you're in the wrong position for the next sequence.
"Ferrari will be very strong as they have so much power and will be fast on the straights but our car will be quick in the corners so hopefully we can gain some time there.
"The Japanese fans are very passionate about the sport and it's always great to see so many of them at the track supporting us, but this year's Japanese Grand Prix will be even more special as we are with Honda for their home race.
"We've had some great results with Honda already this year and it won't be easy at Suzuka but we will of course deliver the best performance possible for the Japanese fans."
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