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Max from Bahrain: 'Car feels good'

Published on 14 March 2021 by Kees-Jan Koster

After driving the RB16B all day on Friday, Max Verstappen will get into the 2021 Red Bull Racing car again on Sunday afternoon during the three-day pre-season testing in Bahrain.

We are looking back with the 23-year-old Dutchman. Max says: “Most important is that we have been able to do many laps without issues, getting to know the car. We try various setups and parts, and everything responds as we hoped, so that is very positive. We have collected a lot of data; it was a good start. Of course, we always want to improve, it is never enough. Hopefully we can continue down this road.”

This year it seems to go better during the testing days than previously in Barcelona. Max explains: “In comparison with previous years during pre-season testing, the car is a bit easier to handle. The balance is a bit better, which is always good. The car feels good. Still, it is hard to predict if we are fast enough.”

With twenty degrees, the temperature in Bahrain is fine, but a strong wind and sandstorm on Friday afternoon entailed some challenges. Max: “The wind direction turned 180 degrees from the first to the second day and that makes the balance of the car very different. The circumstances are of course the same for everyone, so we just have to deal with it.”

Max is not thinking about the competition. “I sat in the car and was busy with my own plan. That went well and it's good to be in the car like that.” Max does not reckon himself as the favourite. “I do not think Red Bull is the favourite, Mercedes has won so many championships in a row. I do not see it is different now, as nobody has yet fully shown what they are capable off. We will see at the first qualifying where we stand.”

Asked what he thinks about sprint races, which Formula 1 wants to try out this year, Max says: “We have heard about the idea. They are still working on the details. I prefer to drive one long race, because the fastest cars will be in front anyway. It does not matter how many races you organise in a weekend; the fastest cars will be in front. We will have to wait and see what it will look like exactly.”

“Hopefully we can do a lot of laps this afternoon”, says Max, who will close the test session in Bahrain on Sunday afternoon. Will we see any qualifying runs? “It is more important to get to know and understand the car. It is not about taking out the fuel and do a qualifying run. We know exactly what we want to do and will concentrate on collecting data.”