The Dutchman finished fourth for the fifth time in eight races at the Paul Ricard Circuit, behind the two Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, as well as Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari.
Verstappen feels he has got the most out of the Honda engine that he can, even from the upgraded unit brought in from them in France but will not be able to match the pace of the leaders in Austria.
Verstappen said (quoted by Crash.com): “We’ll probably finish fourth or fifth, though that depends on Ferrari making mistakes.
“Maybe even third if both Ferraris make a mistake!
“We’re just lacking pace at the moment, you have to accept that. In the meantime, we keep working hard on the car and mostly the power unit, too.
“You can see Ferrari and Mercedes have made another step and Renault too, I think ours was just not big enough here so we have work to do.”
Throughout the race in France Verstappen had been referencing his lack of pace to Mercedes and Ferrari as having a ‘magic throttle pedal’ over his team radio as he wasn’t able to match their times.
He added: “The team kept telling me about Mercedes and Ferrari lap times, but I told them I really couldn't go any quicker. I was trying everything I could.”