Verstappen excited to start the season after setting testing pace

"We'll find out in a couple of weeks in Q3 where we really are"

Monday, 15th March 2021, 11:06 am
Updated Monday, 15th March 2021, 11:10 am
Max Verstappen

Max Verstappen says he is not counting his chickens yet, but is eager to go racing after Red Bull Racing set the fastest time during the three-day pre-season test in Bahrain this week.

While they watched world champions Mercedes seemingly struggle in the desert, with mechanical issues plaguing the opening day for the W12 and a loose rear-end proving troublesome for both Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.

Verstappen set the fastest times on Day 1 and Day 3 of testing, with his time on Sunday the quickest of the entire test as he dipped his toes into the 28s with a 1:28.960 late on.

Though teams run different fuel levels and scenarios so times can be taken with a pinch of salt, Red Bull's fairly seamless running in the RB16B for both Verstappen and new team-mate Sergio Perez has many predicting a much closer season in 2021.

Verstappen says they won't know their true place in the pecking order for another two weeks, when the teams head into qualifying for the first race, again in Bahrain.

"We’ll find out for sure in a couple of weeks in Q3 where we really are but in general I would say the car feels good and I’m looking forward to going racing," he said.

“It was another good day and we got through the whole programme. Conditions were a bit different to day one so we had to adjust the car a bit as we went along but from our side it was very smooth, as it has been throughout the whole test.

"I think we can say it has been a good weekend but of course that doesn’t give you any guarantees and all teams are doing different programmes at testing. We always look into what we can improve and for sure there are still things we want to work on but I think all teams will have that."

Perez added: "I’m very excited about the season and I think we’ve got a good car underneath us but I still have a lot to learn in the car to get the maximum out of it. The team is doing a fantastic job.

"It doesn’t really matter where we start in Bahrain, it matters where we finish in Abu Dhabi. Now we just want to look forward to the race weekend. We’re going to take it step by step and be patient in the beginning and then things will come to us.”