The Formula 1 world championship can turn on a number of factors and one of the most crucial is in-season car development, with teams working relentlessly to try and extract more out of their equipment each weekend with new upgrades both to the power and aerodynamic side of things.
Indeed, it's been clear at recent races that Mercedes have made improvements to their car with them looking strong pace-wise and, though Max currently leads the Drivers' standings at the moment, he has called on his team to respond if they can.
Speaking after the Turkish Grand Prix where he came second and never really looked too much of a threat to winner Valtteri Bottas in his Mercedes, the Dutchman said that recent tracks might have favoured the Silver Arrows anyway, but that they have clearly made performance leaps:
"Of course, overall, I think we have been at tracks that naturally were a bit better for Mercedes, but then this track was a bit unknown, and clearly they were ahead of us.
"I do think we need to step it up a bit to be in the fight until the end of the season.
"Of course, they've sorted their car out, so it's a bit more obvious that top speed they have," Verstappen explained.
"It's what we have to live with, it's not going to magically disappear, but of course, we'll try to minimise the damage on the straights."
Red Bull have historically been a bit short on straight-line speed compared to the Mercedes anyway, and have been able to make time back up through corners and twistier sections of track that require higher downforce.
They've had a very good car this year, too, but Mercedes have clearly made advances of late and so now it's up to Verstappen's team and Honda to see what they can do to strike back in the development war.News Now - Sport News