There was plenty of attention focused on Red Bull on the first day of pre-season testing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. Much has been made of the burgeoning relationship with Honda in the early days of their partnership but Monday was the first day that a Red Bull-Honda took to the track with serious intent.
In the end, it went surprisingly smoothly for Verstappen, who clocked up 128 laps in total on his first day of duty for 2019. His best time of 1:19.426 was encouraging too, 1.3 seconds off the leading time of Sebastian Vettel on the same tyre compound; they both used the C3 for their fastest times.
“To do 128 laps on the first day of testing is a really good day, so I’m very happy with that.” said a beaming Verstappen afterwards.
“We collected a lot of data, which is really important, and we’ll analyse everything tonight to see what we can improve on tomorrow when Pierre is in the car. I’ll also go into detail tonight and tomorrow to see where I can improve for my second day. So far, so good and I’m happy that we were able to do so many laps. I’m looking forward to the rest of the week.”
Guillame Rocquelin, Head of Race Engineering, said that there had been some ‘frustrating little niggles’ that delayed initial track time in the morning, but the day quickly turned around once they got out on track: “We put good mileage on the car, we got through the workload without issue, and though most teams aren’t chasing lap time, Max put in a respectable lap. I would say that operationally, we are pretty well placed and everything is working as it should be on all sides. A solid start and a good platform for the rest of the week.”