Verstappen rules out 'magical' Japanese GP win for Red Bull

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Max Verstappen doesn't believe Red Bull will challenge for victory at next weekend's Japanese Grand Prix.

The race at Suzuka is a critical one of the Anglo-Austrian team as it is their first with engine supplier Honda, who sponsor their home event.

However, after a frustrating four races after a summer break, Max isn't expecting a sudden shift.

"I would not like to create false hopes," he told Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf.

"I do not expect it to be a magical weekend at Suzuka. We are not competitive like Mercedes and Ferrari. I don't know if I can aim for victory, we'll see what happens."

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The Verstappen family have been very outspoken this week about the recent performance of Red Bull, with father Jos describing it as "not good enough", while the 22-year-old suggested he had "outperformed" his car at times this season.

Part of the reason for the poor results has been grid penalties in Monza and Sochi, though chief engineer Paul Monaghan denied the last one was to boost their Japan chances.

“We haven’t taken penalties here solely for Suzuka,” he said via “We are in our first year with Honda and, if you look at it, we’ve not had an engine fail or anything like that.

“All the engines in the pool are still there. As part of the programme to get ourselves more competitive, we’ve opted to take just five places here. It will dent us from necessarily being with these guys on Lap 1 – but it’s looking beyond Suzuka, we’re into next year.

“It would be nice for us to go well in Suzuka, wouldn’t it?”