Verstappen 'hoping and praying' Sakhir will be better than Monza for Red Bull

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Max Verstappen is praying the high-speed 'Outer Circuit', which will be used for the Sakhir Grand Prix, suits Red Bull better than Monza.

After Formula 1 raced on the traditional Bahrain GP layout last weekend, this weekend, a very different challenge awaits on the 3.5km loop, which sees the three long straights linked by part of the Endurance track which was used back in 2010.

With the Outer Circuit putting an emphasis on straight-line speed then, car set-up is expected to be similar to that seen at Monza with skinny wings for less downforce.

And given Verstappen's best finish at the Italian GP venue is fifth, the Dutchman admits he hopes to be more competitive than that.

“I really hope it’s not going to be like Monza but we have to wait and see,” he said.

“I mean the track itself is a bit different compared to Monza; there are still a few corners where you can make a bit more of a difference. At Monza, everyone runs very, very low downforce so you just really lack on the straights.

“I think here there will be a bit of difference in terms of downforce levels so let’s just hope and pray it's going to be better."

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Certainly, with Lewis Hamilton not on the grid after testing positive for Covid-19 on Monday, this weekend would be seen as Verstappen's best chance to add to his win at Silverstone.

But the Red Bull driver knows it still won't be easy.

“Well there is no Lewis,” he said, “but there is Valtteri [Bottas] and George [Russell] driving the fastest car in the field so it will still be very tough and not easy, especially with the layout we have, but that will be very close.

“Also, with the guys behind us last week, I don’t expect it to be very easy out there.

“It [the Outer Circuit] will only help the cars which have a lot of power so yeah, I expect it to be a little bit more difficult for us [than it was on the normal layout].”