Max Verstappen says errors have masked Red Bull's full potential since the summer break.
A run of 1st, 5th, 1st and 2nd into the mid-season shutdown had seen Verstappen climb into tentative title contention, something that might have been stronger without Sebastian Vettel crashing him out of a podium spot at Silverstone and Lewis Hamilton pipping him for the win late in Hungary.
Verstappen has only been on the podium twice in the seven races since action resumed however, and has been outscored by new team-mate Alexander Albon across them thanks to DNFs in Belgium and Japan.
While performances in Singapore, Suzuka and Mexico have not lived up to expectation, Verstappen does not believe progress has necessarily stalled at Red Bull.
"When you look back after the summer break, we were also very competitive in Monza, which you wouldn't expect, so it was not all that bad," he said.
"Of course, we also had to take engine penalties. So starting from the back the best you really could do was fifth and then, of course, it doesn't look like an amazing result.
"Suzuka was always going to be a bit of a tricky one because you can nail the set-up for qualifying or not, immediately it can be a big difference, and I was not very happy with the set-up we had in qualifying so it didn't look amazing.
"But still I had a good start, was virtually in [third], but then I got taken out of course. That would have been a nice result as well for us."
Verstappen was third quickest in practice for the Brazilian GP, hinting that a positive result could be on the cards, 12 months on from having a near certain win cruelly snatched from him.
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