Max Verstappen has praised Red Bull‘s new challenger, the RB16B, for its predictably, something which will be welcome news for the Dutchman.
Christian Horner’s team struggled with just that in 2020, with aerodynamic issues often causing problems for Verstappen and his then team-mate Alex Albon, who has been replaced this season with Sergio Perez.
With the aim for 2021 to close the gap between themselves and Mercedes, which was a 254-point margin last year, Red Bull will be hoping that this will no longer be a problem.
As quoted by Autosport, in a conversation with Ziggo Sport, Verstappen said: “The feeling after the first couple of runs, of course, you always have to adjust things and so on, but it felt very positive.
“At one point I had a good balance in the car and it just felt nice to drive. It was very, how do you say, predictable!”
Predictable is not a word which the Mercedes garage will have used on Friday, following the issues they suffered with their gearbox.
It was quite the opposite for their closest competitors Red Bull, who managed 139 laps with Verstappen driving both sessions.
When asked if the first day of testing boded well for the season ahead, the Dutchman said: “It’s always difficult to say, but from our side we just had a good day.
“We drove a lot, had no problems and the car just feels good. And it’s just a good start for us, which makes things nice for the coming two days.”
— Max Verstappen (@Max33Verstappen) March 12, 2021
Verstappen was not only top of the list for the amount of laps driven, but also top of the timesheet with a 1:30.674. That time ultimately has little importance, though, with the main objective of testing clearly to just get the car out on track for long enough to obtain the relevant data.
“If you have a day like today, that you can do so many laps, that’s actually what you always want to have,” added Max.
“Especially at a track like Bahrain, where it’s always very hard on the tyres. And especially today, because it was very hot and there was a lot of wind. So to do so many laps is just very positive.
“The goal is always to do this many laps. That’s on your run sheet every day. But usually you don’t manage to that amount due to various small problems or whatever. But we didn’t have that at all.”