Verstappen sure Red Bull can close gap to Mercedes, Ferrari

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Max Verstappen is confident that Red Bull can narrow the "big gap" to Mercedes and Ferrari in the fight for Formula One honours.

Verstappen was fifth in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, while team-mate Daniel Ricciardo crashed out after a miserable weekend.

Though the Dutchman was a minute up the road from sixth-placed Felipe Massa in the Williams, he could not get onto the back of Kimi Raikkonen's fourth-place Ferrari, despite a fast-finishing strategy on supersoft tyres.

"For sure we have to improve, but that's how it is at the moment," the Dutch prodigy said ahead of the Chinese Grand Prix.

"We are definitely working hard to get new parts to the car as soon and try to just get the pace up a bit and be closer to the top two teams, because behind us is at the moment quite a big gap, as you could see.

"I think I could have done two pit stops in Melbourne and still have had the same position. We'll see, on a normal race track here in Shanghai.

"It's quite a big gap, but I'm quite confident that we can definitely close it in the upcoming races to within a second and then we'll see when we get the bigger upgrades also from the engine side.

"We can just improve the general balance. I mean, I think in qualifying everything felt pretty good but it's just we need more load. A bit more grip, we need more power. 

"And it's a bit of both - you try to make an efficient car on the straights to make up for the loss of power there. Now we just have to focus on, first, getting the car in the right window and then hopefully we get the right upgrades from the engine side as well."