Verstappen: First test was about mileage

Date published: March 3 2017

Max Verstappen has warned that Red Bull have yet to show the true pace of the RB13 having languished behind Mercedes and Ferrari in Spain.

Despite Red Bull being bullish about the new aerodynamic regulations giving them a hand in closing the gap to Mercedes this season, there was little of that in the opening pre-season test.

While Mercedes’ new signing Valtteri Bottas set the overall pace, Daniel Ricciardo was only fifth for Red Bull with Verstappen P7.

The Dutchman, though, says he’s not worried as Red Bull, who covered 372 laps over the four days, have yet to turn their attention to pace.

“For us it was very positive,” Verstappen said.

“We have done quite a bit of mileage and also for me to get used to the car, and also working to understand the new type of car. We did a good job.

“It is a completely different philosophy with the car, and the tyres are very wide, so you have to drive it also a bit differently. But the car was behaving well in the wet. We were pretty happy.”

He added: “I think for sure for us it was just trying to make mileage and seeing if the parts were holding on, and everything has been behaving pretty well.

“Of course it is too early to say where we are. It is difficult to say because you don’t really know what the others are doing in terms of programme, but for our side we can be quite happy.”

The 19-year-old also touched on Mercedes’ engine power advantage, saying he expects Renault to close that gap as the season progresses.

“For sure they will still have an advantage on us in the beginning of the season power-wise, but I think we are definitely catching up,” he added.