Max Verstappen thinks he can make Mercedes very difficult on Sunday in the Grand Prix of Austria. That he had to admit half a second in the qualifying session on Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton on Saturday, should not be an insurmountable problem.

"We have never been the fastest in one round here," said Verstappen at a news conference on the Red Bull Ring on Saturday. "Hopefully we will be a lot closer to Mercedes during the race."

Verstappen won the Austrian Grand Prix in the past two years. In 2018 he drove from fifth place to victory. Last year he started second, but due to a bad start he fell back to seventh place.

The successful overtaking races of the past two years give the Limburg citizen confidence. In addition, it will be about 28 degrees on Sunday in Spielberg, where Mercedes had difficulties with the high temperatures last year. Bottas then finished third and Hamilton only fifth.

"Getting warm on Sunday can help a bit," said Verstappen. "I think the third place in qualifying is a good start to the season, we now have to work hard to close that gap."

See also: Analysis: Verstappen again sentenced to chase Mercedes

Verstappen dissatisfied with balance in car

Verstappen said that he was not satisfied with the balance in the car on Saturday. "If we can solve that, we'll be in a better position tomorrow. Although I wouldn't have beaten Mercedes in qualifying with a better balance."

Mercedes has dominated Formula 1 since 2014 and on Saturday the German team proved to be the big favorite for the world title again this season. "But there is currently no drama," said Verstappen. "Maybe people in the Netherlands think so, but I don't care."

The Grand Prix of Austria starts on Sunday at 3.10 p.m.

Play along with the NUsport GP game! For the app users: tap here.