Max Verstappen says Red Bull is “absolutely” stronger than it was in 2017 after completing 130 laps on the opening day of the final preseason test at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
Under new regulations, Red Bull started last season slowly due to correlation issues between its wind tunnel and the circuit, but improved the longer the year went on. After setting the third-fastest time on Tuesday at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, when asked if the team is stronger this year than last, Verstappen replied: “Absolutely.
“[A comparison] is difficult to say because of the new tarmac. It really changes the whole car, the whole way of driving, also with the new tires. It feels alright. The car is definitely faster than last year, so that is positive.”
Verstappen did stop on track during the afternoon session – bringing out the red flag after coming to a halt on the pit straight – but downplayed the issue.
“We did a lot of laps, that was very important to get the mileage on the car. It was a good day … [We had] a small battery problem so we had to change that. It always takes a little time, but afterwards was all good again.
“The most important was to get a lot of laps under our belt, see how the car was behaving, so we managed to do that.”
After saying Red Bull’s focus remains to complete a lot of laps over the next three days, when asked if race-specification upgrade will be seen, Verstappen – who was driving on Tuesday in place of ill teammate Daniel Ricciardo – simply replied: “You have to keep your eyes open…”