But Red Bull's season has been undermined by DNFs, particularly their most recent - with Verstappen tangling with team-mate Daniel Ricciardo in Azerbaijan, causing both to crash out. Things have changed at Red Bull.
Red Bull boss Christian Horner accused Formula One on Friday of shooting itself in the foot over aerodynamic changes for 2019 which he said would cost teams like his millions in extra expense.
Verstappen is happy with the call and the lack of team orders. Red Bull showed they should be a real threat this weekend by staying right behind the Silver Arrow of Hamilton - but it seems there's plenty of work to do for Ferrari, especially on Raikkonen's auto.
"You always hear big numbers, you are going to gain this amount, but it seems when you get closer and closer the realisation is less optimistic", said Ricciardo.
Despite the objection of a number of teams - including Red Bull, naturally - the FIA has rubber-stamped the introduction of new rules for next season aimed at improving overtaking.
Force India technical director Andy Green said other regulation changes for 2019 meant the team would have to build a new chassis anyway. "In general, they still trust us and we also understand that we don't want that to happen again".
The Red Bull advisor added that Ricciardo and Verstappen have spoken since the incident which Red Bull now consider to be closed.
Ricciardo had a tough start to his weekend in Spain, crashing into a tire barrier in the first practice and losing a lot of track time.
Kevin Magnussen backed up his teammate with the eighth-fastest time after escaping from FP1 with only a reprimand for blocking Charles Leclerc at high speed, while Stoffel Vandoorne and Sergio Perez rounded out the top 10. As Ricciardo tried to force his way past Verstappen at the end of the front straightaway, Verstappen closed up and Ricciardo couldn't avoid the collision. What could the team have done better?
"Maybe that's my problem", said Ricciardo.
"You always want to improve but I think the auto has been handling pretty well", he said yesterday.
"If it got to the point where there was a banging of wheels again, -especially if the vehicle was faster behind, then you would expect the team to say, 'Let's swap cars and release one of them, '" Ricciardo said.