Max Verstappen says he has yet to enjoy a good launch off the grid this season, the Red Bull driver hoping Honda can improve how its engine performs when the lights go out on Sundays.

Verstappen finished fourth in China last weekend, running a steady race that saw the Dutchman fight wheel-to-wheel with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel for third and undercut the Scuderia’s other driver Charles Leclerc for a spot just outside the podium.

The 21-year-old was happy to bag more points but still felt frustrated by the relative performance of his Red Bull RB15 that is keeping him from fighting at the front.

“We did have another good result points wise, but during the race there was not much action,” Verstappen told Ziggo Sport on Monday.

“To say frustrating is a bit extreme, but at this moment we lack race pace so then you need to make sure that you extract as many points as possible.

“The season is still long and we have to hope that, at a certain point, when the upgrades come, we will be able to slot right back in.”

Last year, Verstappen often made it a habit of gaining positions at the start thanks to strong launches off the grid. Fast starts haven’t been the norm this however and the Dutchman it’s an area where Honda needs to improve.

“So far I haven’t really had any decent start,” he added.

“With the Honda-engine, we’re still trying to find a good start. That is something that can be improved.”

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Verstappen was asked about his prospects for the upcoming Azerbaijan Grand Prix in Baku, but admitted he wasn’t sure what to expect.

“In Baku we are expecting new parts for the car and engine, the real work is set for a later date,” he said;

“It is hard to say at this moment. I find it a bit hard to be really able to gauge the season so far.

“This week Mercedes is fast and then the other week it’s Ferrari, for us it’s a bit of a question mark.”

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