Max Verstappen wary of Lewis Hamilton despite eight-point swing in his favour at Turkish Grand Prix

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 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Max Verstappen may have climbed back into the championship lead but warned Red Bull are falling behind the pace of Mercedes after the Turkish Grand Prix.

Verstappen finished second behind Valtteri Bottas while title rival Lewis Hamilton, who had climbed up the field from starting 11th to get close to the Dutchman, had to make do with fifth after a pitstop error.

It saw the title race flip once more with Verstappen now holding a six-point lead going into the United States Grand Prix in two weeks’ time, a race which Red Bull boss Christian Horner described as “one of Lewis’ strongest circuits”.

Despite another bright weekend for his own title ambitions, Verstappen said: “It’s very good but we need to find a bit more pace because six points are nothing. I wish I had a bit more pace.

“It’s going to be tough but I can’t complain about the season. We’re in a championship fight and that’s all we can hope for. The last few races they’ve picked up the pace a bit. Hopefully, some tracks will be a bit better for us. We’ll see.”

For much of a season which has ebbed and flowed, Hamilton has been in the slower of the two cars as he bids for an eighth world title.

But the past two races, Mercedes appear to have gained the ascendancy in terms of pure pace despite the Briton claiming nothing has been done to the car to extricate any more on-track speed.

There was still frustration in the aftermath of Hamilton rejecting an initial call to pit for new tyres and then losing valuable time and subsequently points by coming in a few laps later.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

“If I had stayed out [even longer] you don’t know if I would have held position but I am a risk taker so I would have wanted to take the risk,” he said. “It’s hard to want to give something up when you don’t fully know the whole picture.

“But If we can continue to perform like that for the next few races, it will be good for the team and, if the car continues to behave as it has this weekend, that’s good for us. I’ll just have to work hard not to drop any more points.”

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff estimated the pitstop delay had potentially cost the team as much as five points, which could prove costly come the season finale.

Wolff said: “It’s not the end of the world. But it’s wide open. We should be okay, it should be close.”

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