Verstappen pushed Honda engine to 'the edge' in Austria

Max Verstappen pushed his Honda engine to its absolute limits en route to victory at the Austrian Grand Prix.

Verstappen produced a mesmeric drive after falling from the front row on the grid to P8 due to anti-stall kicking in as he launched.

With Red Bull still getting to grips with Honda in 2019, they were no expected to contend for victory in their home race, but Verstappen made it back-to-back Spielberg successes regardless.

Verstappen overtook six of the seven cars that got by him off the line on the track, reporting a loss of power at one point, but it was quickly fixed, and Honda F1 director Toyoharu Tanabe has revealed that he did so while pushing his engine all the way.

“We were on the edge on terms of cooling,” he said. “Of course, the high temperatures forced us to save the power unit. We tried to extract as much power as we could.

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“I did not [expect to be competitive] like this, be so strong. From the previous races we could see a very strong Mercedes but sometimes we could compete with Ferrari.

“Differently, we showed the strongest performance against them, so I’m a bit surprised.”

Although buoyed by the result, Tanabe warned against expecting Honda’s engine to compete with its rivals at each race from now on.

“Of course this result encourages the members of our development team, but from the beginning of the season we could really see a big gap to Mercedes and Ferrari,” Tanabe said.

“In Austria it was okay; we were strong, but for the next race, I cannot guarantee we’ll be a strong as [Sunday], that we’ll have the same competitiveness compared with the others.

“It means we need to keep pushing very hard, to get the confidence that we are strong and that when we’ll make no mistakes we will win. We want to have that level and need to keep pushing.”