Dutch charger Max Verstappen believes it is too early to suggest Red Bull will be favourites for the Singapore Grand Prix victory.
Verstappen has come under criticism lately for his overly aggressive defending style, will have a Renault engine upgrade at his disposal for this weekends race under the Marina Bay lights.
As with any upgrade, the new unit for this race is expected to provide a boost to track performance, which has strengthened the opinion that Red Bull will indeed be favourites. Both Red Bull drivers will have the new spec Renault power units, whilst Renault works drivers Jolyon Palmer and Kevin Magnussen will have to make do with the older spec units due to engine life cycle.
Another factor in this weekends race, is the unknown quantity that Mercedes bring to the track. Last year Mercedes were well and truly beaten in qualifying for the first time since 2013, as Vettel took pole for Ferrari nearly 1.5 seconds up the road from Lewis Hamilton. Red Bull will be quietly hoping that Merc’s Singapore woes somewhat return, which would leave them in a straight fight with Ferrari for the coveted grid slots.
Mindful of all the off track speculation, Max wants to wait for Friday practice to start before taking to much notice of what is happening in the media.
“We just focus on our own thing, people can write what they want,” he said. “We have a good chance.
“If you look at last year we improved a lot from our side. Wait and see. It’s difficult for me to say we’ll be the number one team because we haven’t driven. We know more about how good we are tomorrow.
“At the moment we have good hopes that we can be very competitive, but how well we don’t know yet. Hopefully we are very competitive, like for example in Monaco.”
This could prove to be one of the closest races of the season.