Verstappen: 2021 pre-season ‘definitely’ my best with Red Bull

Max Verstappen says the last three days of Formula 1 winter testing in Bahrain have "definitely" been his best with Red Bull, but offer no guarantees for the new season.

Verstappen: 2021 pre-season ‘definitely’ my best with Red Bull

Verstappen ended pre-season testing at the Bahrain International Circuit with the fastest lap time, recording a best effort of 1m28.960s.

The lap saw him finish 0.093s clear of AlphaTauri's Yuki Tsunoda in second place, and more than a second clear of reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes.

Verstappen has downplayed the favourite tag for Red Bull throughout testing, but Mercedes revealed on Sunday night that its data showed it was slower than its rival across the race runs.

Red Bull ran without any major issues throughout testing, allowing Verstappen and new team-mate Sergio Perez to rack up over a race distance more mileage than Mercedes.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B

Photo by: Haas F1 Team

Asked if it had been the best pre-season testing of his F1 career, Verstappen replied: "Yeah, definitely I think it has been the best.

"But it doesn't give you any guarantees. We'll find out through the first race weekend where we are."

The successful test marks a continuation of Red Bull's impressive momentum in recent months that started with Verstappen's victory at the 2020 season finale in Abu Dhabi.

Verstappen was pleased that the test had been "very smooth" and said he was "happy with the progress throughout the whole test", but felt there was still room for improvement.

"We always look in to what we can improve," he said. "For sure there are some things we want to work on. But I guess every team has that."

One of the big weaknesses of the 2020 RB16 in testing was its instability, but the team appears to have resolved the issue with this year's RB16B.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B

Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

Whereas Mercedes has struggled with rear instability, Verstappen was comfortable with how his car was feeling.

"You know you will lose a bit of downforce on the car with this floor, but so far, it's been quite a stable," he said.

Red Bull head of race engineering Guillaume Rocquelin was happy that the team had given its drivers a solid starting point for the new season.

"Overall, this has been a positive test phase," Rocquelin said.

"Three days are never going to be enough. I don't think anyone would say they are, but in terms of the time available, what we got out of this test was very useful.

"We've got a really good base to build from and we're looking forward to coming back to Bahrain in a couple of weeks."

shares
comments

Related video

Mercedes: Data shows we’re not as quick as Red Bull after F1 testing
Previous article

Mercedes: Data shows we’re not as quick as Red Bull after F1 testing

Next article

How Red Bull won F1 2021 pre-season testing

How Red Bull won F1 2021 pre-season testing
Why Vasseur relishes 'feeling the pressure' as Ferrari's F1 boss Plus

Why Vasseur relishes 'feeling the pressure' as Ferrari's F1 boss

OPINION: Fred Vasseur has spent only a few weeks as team principal for the Ferrari Formula 1 team, but is already intent on taking the Scuderia back to the very top. And despite it being arguably the most demanding job in motorsport, the Frenchman is relishing the challenge

The crucial tech changes F1 teams must adapt to in 2023 Plus

The crucial tech changes F1 teams must adapt to in 2023

Changes to the regulations for season two of Formula 1's ground-effects era aim to smooth out last year’s troubles and shut down loopholes. But what areas have been targeted, and what impact will this have?

Formula 1
Jan 26, 2023
Are these the 50 quickest drivers in F1 history? Plus

Are these the 50 quickest drivers in F1 history?

Who are the quickest drivers in Formula 1 history? LUKE SMITH asked a jury of experienced and international panel of experts and F1 insiders. Some of them have worked closely with F1’s fastest-ever drivers – so who better to vote on our all-time top 50? We’re talking all-out speed here rather than size of trophy cabinet, so the results may surprise you…

Formula 1
Jan 25, 2023
One easy way the FIA could instantly improve F1 Plus

One easy way the FIA could instantly improve F1

OPINION: During what is traditionally a very quiet time of year in the Formula 1 news cycle, FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem has been generating headlines. He’s been commenting on massive topics in a championship that loves them, but also addressing necessary smaller changes too. Here we suggest a further refinement that would be a big boon to fans

Formula 1
Jan 24, 2023
How can McLaren keep hold of Norris? Plus

How can McLaren keep hold of Norris?

Lando Norris is no longer the young cheeky-chappy at McLaren; he’s now the established ace. And F1's big guns will come calling if the team can’t give him a competitive car. Here's what the team needs to do to retain its prize asset

Formula 1
Jan 24, 2023
What difference did F1's fastest pitstops of 2022 make? Plus

What difference did F1's fastest pitstops of 2022 make?

While a quick pitstop can make all the difference to the outcome of a Formula 1 race, most team managers say consistency is more important than pure speed. MATT KEW analyses the fastest pitstops from last season to see which ones – if any – made a genuine impact

Formula 1
Jan 23, 2023
When F1 ‘holiday’ races kept drivers busy through the winter Plus

When F1 ‘holiday’ races kept drivers busy through the winter

Modern Formula 1 fans have grown accustomed to a lull in racing during winter in the northern hemisphere. But, as MAURICE HAMILTON explains, there was a time when teams headed south of the equator rather than bunkering down in the factory. And why not? There was fun to be had, money to be made and reputations to forge…

Formula 1
Jan 20, 2023
What Porsche social media frenzy says about F1’s manufacturer allure Plus

What Porsche social media frenzy says about F1’s manufacturer allure

Porsche whipped up a frenzy thanks to a cryptic social media post last week and, although it turned out to be a false alarm, it also highlighted why manufacturers remain such an important element in terms of the attraction that they bring to F1. It is little wonder that several other manufacturers are bidding for a slice of the action

Formula 1
Jan 19, 2023