Max Verstappen says he hopes Red Bull can be “very close” to Mercedes at this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix after performing better than expected at venues that should not have suited his RB12.

The Dutchman kept Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg honest throughout the Silverstone race last time out, while the Milton Keynes-based outfit eclipsed Ferrari as the second-best team in the pecking order.

Given its chassis prowess and Daniel Ricciardo’s performance in Monaco, Red Bull has been tipped as a genuine contender for victory on the Hungaroring’s tight and twisty layout.

“I think our best chance was in Monaco for sure but here as well the car can be very strong,” Verstappen said in Thursday’s FIA press conference in Budapest.

“I’m definitely looking forward to the weekend because so far the car has been pretty strong even on tracks where we did not expect it to be that strong.

“You just have to wait and see. Let’s see now how we can improve during the sessions but hopefully we can be very close [to Mercedes].”

Since his fast track promotion from Toro Rosso ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix, Verstappen has been the second-highest points scorer behind only Lewis Hamilton with a win and two additional podiums.

Prior to the season, the 18-year-old set himself the target of amassing 100 points. With this goal almost fulfilled – Verstappen currently has 90 to his name – the Dutchman was recently quoted as saying he was eyeing P3 in the final classification.

“We’re pretty close but we’ll see where we end up at the end of the season,” he added in Budapest. “We’ll be in between third and six, hopefully.

“You try to do the best possible job every race and we’ll see where are.”

Verstappen currently occupies sixth in the Drivers’ standings, 16 points adrift of third-placed Kimi Raikkonen.

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