Max Verstappen is expecting the challenge from Ferrari to much closer for this weekend’s Dutch Grand Prix.
The Red Bull dominated the field at the highspeed Spa Francorchamps, but with shorter straights and banked corners Verstappen is expecting the race at Zandvoort to be closer between the rivals.
"I think it will be closer together here. Spa was great for us and better than expected. It was just the car in combination with the track layout because it suited our car very well," he tells media, including RacingNews365.com, ahead of the weekend.
"Here in Zandvoort you use a lot of downforce, the layout is completely different and there are fewer straights.
"If we can get our set-up in order, the car will be very fast again. It's just a question mark how fast we will be compared to the rest."
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RB18 more suited to Verstappen’s driving
At the beginning of the season Verstappen wasn’t overly happy with the RB18, but now he feels more at home since development has improved behind the scenes.
With nine wins so far this season – the most of any driver on the grid – the reigning world champion believes that the updates have given him a better setup window compared to rivals.
He explained: "We keep trying to improve the balance and the feel in the car. It's a pretty efficient car and we're good on the straights. We're going better on some tracks than others, but I think Spa as a track has it best suited our car."
"With all the updates we've had throughout the year, we've got the car in a better window and the car feels much nicer to drive.
"We started the season with a really big car and we had to wait a bit for that to get better. That didn't help at the beginning, but slowly we managed to improve that situation."
Spa might have been an outlier admits Verstappen, with the team able to get straight into their optimal set-up at the start of the weekend.
"We also generally understood the new rules better and better, so we were able to find an increasingly better set-up. So you see that the car changes little by little. Spa was just a really good weekend, from the first round. That's the first time in five years that the car was spot on right away."
F1 podcast: Could Honda stay with Red Bull beyond 2025?
As Max Verstappen took a dominant win in the Belgian Grand Prix, plenty of attention remains on off-track matters, with Audi confirming their 2026 arrival into F1, and question marks remaining over the involvement of Porsche and Honda.
RacingNews365.com F1 journalists Dieter Rencken and Michael Butterworth discuss the key topics from the Belgium Grand Prix.