Verstappen delivers improvement ‘everywhere’ warning
By Ian Parkes
Saturday 4th March, 2023 - 12:30am
Max Verstappen has delivered an ominous warning to his F1 rivals by declaring this season’s Red Bull to be an improvement “everywhere” compared to last year’s record-breaking car.
Verstappen scored 15 grand prix victories – setting a new mark for a season – en route to securing his second consecutive Formula 1 championship.
The RB18 allowed Verstappen to cruise to the title, the Dutch driver finishing 146 points clear of nearest rivals Charles Leclerc, whilst Red Bull clinched its first constructors’ crown since 2013, leaving the Scuderia trailing by 205 points.
Following the three-day pre-season test in Bahrain last week, the indication appeared to be that the new Red Bull is at least half-a-second quicker than its closest competitors in Ferrari, Mercedes, and Aston Martin.
Mercedes driver George Russell has also declared Red Bull to be “in a league of its own” going into the season-opening race at the Bahrain International Circuit this weekend.
Verstappen also appears to be full of confidence going into the new season.
“We had three really good days,” he said, referring to the test. “In general, the progress we made over the winter was very good, but, of course, we have to show it this weekend.
“But not only this weekend, from there onwards you continue to develop, and every track is also a bit different in terms of the behaviour of the car. But yeah, the test days were good for us.”
Verstappen “100 percent” happier
As to where the car has improved, again Verstappen was not shy in delivering his verdict.
“Everywhere,” added the 25-year-old. “That’s the aim. You always strive to improve it, and it feels nice, well-balanced.”
The overall feeling from Verstappen is that he “100 percent” feels in a much better place compared to this time last year.
“Our car was a bit fat last year so naturally, it’s in a much better window,” said Verstappen.
“What we learned throughout the whole of last year gives you a much better understanding of the car.
“Sure, that naturally makes it better but that doesn’t mean that we are satisfied. I think we’re never satisfied, you always want to do better and we want to put improvements on the car, which we will do.”
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