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Formula 1 Spanish GP

Verstappen urges Red Bull to find more pace as F1 rivals catch up

World champion rang the alarm bells after being beaten to pole in Barcelona

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB20, leaves the garage

Max Verstappen has urged his Red Bull Formula 1 team to bring more performance to its car after being beaten to pole for the Spanish Grand Prix by McLaren's Lando Norris.

Verstappen and Red Bull headed to Barcelona as the pre-event favourites, but the Dutchman was pipped at the end by Norris, who snatched pole away by 0.020s.

While Red Bull had been expected to restore its advantage after a bumpier run of circuits that were less favourable but still yielded two tightly-contested wins for Verstappen, the world champion rang the alarm bells in Spain after seeing Norris beat him on a proper Red Bull circuit.

"I have been saying for weeks that we need to bring more performance to our car and everyone in the team knows that as well," Verstappen said.

"So far, it looks like everyone around us is bringing more updates than we do. Of course we have to work on that, we find more performance for our own car as well.

"At the moment we just lack some speed. The gap to Checo [Perez] is pretty big and I think that says a lot, because I don't think Checo has become worse."

Verstappen said he had to compensate for Red Bull's receding competitiveness "for the last few weeks already" with his driving.

"That's fine too and that's what I'm paid for, but at the end of the day, we have to find more performance to win the championship again. If you have to drive at 101% every single time, then of course it will go wrong one day."

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

But he rubbished cheeky suggestions by Mercedes that Red Bull's latest upgrades might have been a downgrade instead, pointed out other teams were simply finding more laptime.

"No, that's bullshit," he shot back. "We are improving the car, of course, but maybe not enough compared to the rest at the moment. Everyone around us is just making slightly bigger steps than us."

He was also wary about McLaren's race pace, acknowledging that the Woking-based team is "just good everywhere now".

"Looking at Friday, I thought McLaren looked very strong. They are just good everywhere now. On every type of track, in the long runs and they handle the tyres well too. They just built a strong package.

"There are obviously several teams up front now, but I think McLaren is the most constant of them. Other teams have more highs and lows.

"[Mercedes] also looked good in the long runs. I think multiple teams look strong, Ferrari too.

"It will be all about the details. If you can look after your tyres, then you can make some good progress."

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