Verstappen not fazed by Merc’s pace-setting times

Michelle Foster


Mercedes bagged the 1-2 as pre-season testing began in Barcelona but Max Verstappen says he’s not focused on that, he’s just happy that his RB16 is “fast everywhere”.

The Formula 1 teams returned to the test arena at the Circuit de Catalunya on Wednesday.

Unlike Mercedes who split the two sessions between the drivers, Verstappen was handed the sole responsibility to cover Red Bull’s first day out.

The Dutchman was the busiest of all the drivers, amassing 168 laps of the Spanish circuit.

His best time for the day, 1:17.516, put him fourth fastest on the timesheet.

It was, however, yet another day in a long list of days that belonged to Mercedes with Lewis Hamilton’s 1:16.976 putting him three-tenths ahead of his team-mate.

Verstappen isn’t fazed.

“We’re not looking at that,” he told Autosport.

“We just have to look at ourselves and focus on what we can improve.

“For us it was just about turning laps and testing different things. That’s what we did today.”

The eight-time grand prix winner added a bit of excitement to his day as he spun, not once but twice.

He got it wrong on two occasions but for different reasons.

“I touched once the gravel I think, that is why I spun,” he said.

“And once I lost it in the second corner, so these things can happen trying to find the limits with the car and what we can do.

“Luckily no damage, which at the end of the day is the most important thing.”

Verstappen was left with a positive first impression of the Honda-powered RB16.

“The car is fast everywhere, which is a good thing,” he said, “and the reliability seems even better.

“So that is all very positive.

“I think it’s been a good day. The car has been working really well together with the engine, and that is what we want to see.

“For us that is the most important.

“I am very happy about that. We just want to learn the car and try things on the car and see what we can do.”

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