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We’ve hit the ground running in 2020 testing, say Red Bull

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BARCELONA, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 21: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (33) Aston Martin Red

With the second highest lap count of any team, Week 1 of 2020 pre-season testing at Barcelona was a good one for Red Bull, according to their pair of happy drivers Max Verstappen and Alex Albon.

The duo completed 471 laps of the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in the new RB16 – just 23 shy of Mercedes’ field-leading total. And while they only managed the ninth-fastest time of the week, that wasn’t the point of the exercise, according to Verstappen.

READ MORE: Mercedes cap off first week of testing with a 1-2

“It’s been good,” said the Dutchman at the end of week 1, having completed 254 of those 471 laps, the second-highest tally of any driver, behind Lewis Hamilton’s 273. “I think for us, the most important for this week was all about just doing a lot of laps… and doing a lot of tests on the car. It was not about lap times. We just needed to see also reliability-wise if everything is working well, and I think I can’t complain with the amount of laps I’ve done!”

Max Verstappen: It's all about collecting laps and data

Albon, meanwhile, was driving his first pre-season test for the team, having made his F1 debut here for Toro Rosso 12 months ago. And despite Red Bull’s fastest time – Verstappen’s 1m 17.516s, set on Day 1 – being 1.784s slower than Mercedes’ best of the week, the Thai driver felt that the team had made a far stronger start to their 2020 campaign than they managed last year – even if he wasn’t with them at the time…

“I think we’re looking strong,” said Albon. “I think Mercedes are looking strong as well. I think compared to last year, it’s a big step forward, so we’ve hit the [ground] running. [Last year] I think there was a bit of chasing – I mean, I’m speaking as someone who wasn’t even here last year, but that’s what they’ve told me, so it’s going well so far.”

READ MORE: Have Mercedes just changed the game with new steering wheel?

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Albon was driving his first pre-season test with Red Bull

Red Bull will look to make another step when testing recommences at Barcelona on Wednesday February 26, with Albon confirming that the team had more parts coming for Week 2 which should bring the RB16 closer to its Australian Grand Prix spec.

TESTING EXPLAINED: Rob Smedley on correlation, aero rakes and flow-vis paint

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