‘I felt comfortable and could push instantly’ – Verstappen fires warning shot to Red Bull's rivals after impressive testing run
With another 47 laps on the board and the second-fastest time of Day 2, Max Verstappen exuded confidence as he completed his testing stint in Bahrain and said he was “very pleased” with his one-and-a-half days at the wheel of the RB19.
The reigning champion topped Day 1 of testing and set 157 laps in the process, with Red Bull enjoying a trouble-free start to testing. That continued on Friday when Sergio Perez clocked up 76 laps in the morning before Verstappen jumped in the car and very nearly topped the second day – before Zhou Guanyu’s late flyer put the Alfa Romeo at the top.
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“Today we focused on the smaller details and took little steps,” said Verstappen. “Again, the car was responding well to everything we did. We learnt a lot for next weekend and of course for future races as well. I’m very pleased with the testing period, every time I jumped in the car I felt comfortable and could push instantly.
“A massive credit to everyone back at the factory, working throughout the whole of winter and even last year to prepare the car we have now. To see it on track and how it behaves on track is great. We’ll have to see how quick we will be next week but I’m feeling positive.”
As for Perez, who made his 2023 pre-season testing debut on Friday morning and will finish the test by spending the whole of Saturday behind the wheel, the Mexican driver offered insight into the behaviour of the RB19 compared to its championship-winning predecessor, the RB18.
“I was happy to be back behind the wheel of the RB19 this morning,” said Perez.
“We mainly focused on the long run, to make sure the car was reliable and that was the main priority. The car feels good, we have a good pace and hopefully we can get some good fine tuning in on Saturday. There are little differences to the RB18, which are mainly dictated by the change to the tyres but generally speaking it is pretty similar.
“I am happy in the car and I think we are in a good place. Now I am looking forward to getting a full day in the car tomorrow. We will do some good simulations for the race and try to prepare as much as possible for qualifying too.”