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Max Verstappen under no illusions despite "smooth" pre-season test

Red Bull and Max Verstappen had a solid pre-season test. Photo: Clive Mason/Getty Images
Red Bull and Max Verstappen had a solid pre-season test. Photo: Clive Mason/Getty Images
ANALYST

Max Verstappen hailed Red Bull's pre-season test as the best he's been a part of in his career but was under no illusions that the formbook can turn upside down before the first race of the season. When talking about the pre-season test Verstappen said," Yeah, definitely, I think it has been the best."

"But it doesn't give you any guarantees. We'll find out through the first race weekend where we are."

"We always look into what we can improve," he said. "For sure, there are some things we want to work on. But I guess every team has that."

Max Verstappen also revealed that the Red Bull, which was notorious for its rear-end issues in 2020, appeared to have things under control, contrary to Mercedes' struggles with an unstable tail throughout the test.

In Max Verstappen's view, the handling of the cars has not been impacted too much from a change in regulations, contrary to expectations.

"You know you will lose a bit of downforce on the car with this floor, but so far, it's been quite stable," he said.

Red Bull head of race engineering Guillaume Rocquelin also shared Max Verstappen's optimism and said that the team had a solid foundation to build on.

"Overall, this has been a positive test phase," Rocquelin said.

"Three days are never going to be enough. I don't think anyone would say they are, but in terms of the time available, what we got out of this test was very useful.

"We've got a really good base to build from and we're looking forward to coming back to Bahrain in a couple of weeks."

Is Max Verstappen the 2021 title favorite?

There aren't many pundits that are writing off Mercedes but if there is one inference that could be made from the pre-season test, it's the fact that the drinks company has laid down the gauntlet for Mercedes.

Mercedes famously made a comeback in 2019 after Ferrari seemed to have gained a headstart during the pre-season tests. But the difference between 2019 and 2021 is the lack of time available for Mercedes to catch up.

Sky F1 pundit Karun Chandhok said that it won't be a surprise if Max Verstappen rolled out to the first race of the season, put the car on the pole and won the race.

At this moment, it does appear that Red Bull and Max Verstappen have an edge over Mercedes. However, we still have two weeks until the first race of the season and that is a long time for Mercedes to sort out the teething issues plaguing the team.

Edited by Sandeep Banerjee
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