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Verstappen: Red Bull need to 'step up’ for championship fight in 2020

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BARCELONA, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 26: Max Verstappen of Netherlands and Red Bull Racing prepares to drive

Max Verstappen has challenged Red Bull to give it everything in 2020 to make the step up from occasional race winners to genuine championship contenders.

Verstappen ended the first day of the second week of pre-season testing second on the time sheets as the team began turning up the wick on the new RB16 as they prepare for the first race of the season in Melbourne, but the Dutchman says the whole team will have to raise their game if they are to take on Mercedes and Ferrari this year and secure their first championship since 2013.

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“Even last year sometimes we had a decent race car, sometimes qualifying was OK, but overall, we need to step up and I think we are working on that," he said. "So far this year the car is definitely an improvement, but it also has to be if you want to fight for the championship.

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Max Verstappen and Daniil Kvyat spin seconds apart

“We focus on ourselves and then we find out in Melbourne where we are,” he added.

So is the RB16 ready to take on the Silver Arrows’ new W11 and Ferrari’s SF1000?

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“It’s just difficult to say anything about it because you don’t know if it’s going to be quick enough,” he continued.

“At the end of the day you don’t look at it yet because testing is a different track to where the first race is as well. What is the most important is that you try a lot of things and you know what the car’s reacting to.

Max Verstappen: 'Overall, we need to step up'

“When you go to Melbourne you know a little bit when you have oversteer or understeer, what direction you have to go into.”

Verstappen had a late spin on track as Wednesday's running came to a close, before he stopped on track - though when asked he was coy about the cause of the stoppage.

“From my side, I don't know what happened at the end [of the day],” he said.

The Dutchman will be back out on track today as testing continues through to the end of the day on Friday.

LIVE TIMING – full coverage of Formula 1 Pre-Season Testing 2020

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