Barcelona testing – Max Verstappen believes that Red Bull Racing will be playing catch-up to Mercedes in the first part of the season.
Having finishing second in the constructors’ championship last year, the team from Milton Keynes are widely tipped to be the main challengers to the Mercedes team in the 2017 season.
The change in chassis regulations could cause something of a shake-up of the running order, with Mercedes having taken both championships in the last three years.
However, speaking after his final test day, Verstappen believes that the Mercedes power plant will prove to be the difference at the start of the season.
“In terms of the week as a whole, the most important thing for us was to make mileage and to know that all the parts were holding up. In general everything behaved pretty well.
“I think Mercedes might still have an advantage on us in terms of power at the beginning of the season but we’ll be catching up. The car will definitely change quite a bit before we get to Melbourne, as it will for everyone.”
Speaking about the decision to water the circuit prior to today’s running, Verstappen added that it was good to have some experience of the new wet-weather tyres.
“It’s always good to run a little bit in the wet in the first week of testing. Of course, the conditions are not ideal, as the sun is shining and the track is wet, but at least we got a first idea of what the wet tyres are like.”
Red Bull Racing’s Head of Race Engineering, Guillaume Rocquelin, added that the team elected not to run in the damp conditions.
“Like everybody, we did most of our wet running in the morning and then later on we had the chance to get in a bit more work on slicks, which was useful.
“We chose not to run when the track was damp as there wasn’t really much point and we thought we might also have a recurrence of yesterday’s exhaust problem, though that turned out not to be the case.”