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The advantage Verstappen expects Mercedes to hold in Italy

The Italian Grand Prix hasn't been particularly kind to Red Bull in recent years with their last win at Monza dating back to 2013. Max Verstappen believes the track suits Mercedes, though he expects his car to be competitive like it has been all year.

After back-to-back wins in Belgium and the Netherlands, Red Bull's Max Verstappen expects things to be a bit trickier at this weekend's Italian Grand Prix as he believes it's a track that suits Mercedes. The Dutchman currently holds a three-point advantage over Lewis Hamilton after 13 races in the 2021 F1 World Championship, with the race in Italy capping off a run of three events in as many weekends. Verstappen knows Monza isn't a track that has favoured Red Bull in the past and he reckons Mercedes will have the advantage again this weekend, especially when it comes to top speed. "I expect Monza to suit Mercedes as it hasn't been our best track for the last few years, but this year we are more competitive, so you never know," said Verstappen ahead of this weekend's race at Monza. "If we continue what we have been doing, working well together as a team, and nail every little detail then we can be competitive, but Mercedes might have a top speed advantage on us. "The track looks easy on paper but it's actually quite difficult to nail a lap there, because with a low downforce setup and the long braking zone the car is moving around quite a lot. "It's a bumpy track with quite old tarmac and the fans there are really passionate about racing and Formula 1. "Naturally, there is always a lot of Ferrari support there but the fans just love F1 and it's great to see that energy with the Italians." With nine races remaining in the 2021 campaign, Verstappen knows the battle with Mercedes remains as tight as ever. "I don't think either us or Mercedes have a big advantage over the other," Verstappen added. "At Zandvoort, you could see in qualifying and the race that both of our cars are super close and Lewis was applying pressure for the entire race, which meant we couldn't afford to make any mistakes on the track, in the pit lane or on the pit wall, and we didn't. "I think it's the finer details where you can make a difference. When you enter a race weekend you have to work hard as a team on the set-up and fine-tuning the little details, that's where the gains can be made."

RESULTS 2024 F1 Hungarian Grand Prix - Free Practice 2