Max Verstappen is enjoying his lead at the top of the tree in Formula 1, but he is aware that progress still has to be made by his Red Bull team.
Ferrari have taken eight of the 12 available pole positions so far in 2022, while Verstappen has taken three, and Sergio Perez one.
However, the Austrian side have now won eight races, seven of them through Verstappen due to a combination of factors.
One of them is the Dutchman’s undeniable speed, another being the fact that the Austrian side have generally had superior race pace this season.
Ferrari have been able to level things up over a long distance in the last few rounds after they brought a new rear wing to the Canadian Grand Prix.
Sainz pushed Verstappen hard for the win that day, before the Spaniard took his maiden pole and win in Silverstone, with Leclerc claiming his third win of the season at the Austrian Grand Prix.
It looked as though the Monegasque was about to make it four in France before he crashed out while leading the race from Verstappen, who went on to win, and it followed a number of errors this season from the Scuderia that have left the door open for Red Bull.
Therefore, the reigning champion accepts that he has a bigger lead than he perhaps ought to in the championship after he opened the gap out to 63 points.
“Of course the lead we have is great, but it’s probably a bit bigger than what it should have been when you look at the car performances between the two cars,” explained Verstappen.
The fact that Ferrari have managed to find considerably more race pace while still maintaining an advantage over one lap is something Red Bull need to work on.
“Even with them sliding around a bit, they were still very quick in front of us,” added Verstappen.
“It just shows that they have a very quick car, and yeah, from our side we know that we have to find – especially over one lap – quite a bit of performance but you know, we’ll be working on it.”
Verstappen’s victory in Le Castellet was his seventh of the season.