Max Verstappen says he is “not surprised” by the 1.022 seconds gap to Lewis Hamilton in qualifying for Formula 1’s British Grand Prix.

Mercedes proved to be in a league on their own on Saturday at Silverstone as Hamilton stormed to a seventh British Grand Prix pole position ahead of teammate Valtteri Bottas, while third was the best Verstappen could muster.

The Dutchman ended up over a second off the pace of Hamilton’s benchmark time but insisted it came as no surprise following Red Bull’s recent struggles.

“I’m not surprised, we are clearly still learning about the car and trying to improve it,” he said.

“Overall, I think the qualifying was okay. I was pretty much all the time in third, so there was not much more I could do.

“I think also my final lap in Q3 was pretty good. I had a bit of a moment coming out of the last corner but it’s just a big gap and we tried to do the best we can.

“For us that’s it at the moment. It’s a better position than seventh to start the race in.”

Verstappen did top opening practice on Friday amid soaring temperatures which reached 35 degrees Celsius on Friday, setting a new hottest day of the year in the UK.

Despite Red Bull appearing closer matched to Mercedes in warmer conditions, Verstappen doubts he would have ended up higher than third had the temperatures remained high for qualifying.

"We would still be quite a few tenths down," Verstappen said. "I don't think the warm weather makes such a big difference.

"If it would have been 35 degrees today, I would still have been third. It would have helped maybe a little bit, but not that much."

Asked if he feels Red Bull can take the fight to Mercedes in the race, Verstappen replied: “Normally not, but we just hope to have a clean start and from there onwards I will try to do the best I can in the car.

“If that’s just to follow them for a bit, then we can be happy to score some points.”

 

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