Verstappen: Red Bull not favourite despite Mercedes troubles

Max Verstappen is refusing to read into Mercedes' struggles through Formula 1 pre-season testing in Bahrain, saying Red Bull is not the favourite heading into the opening race.

Verstappen: Red Bull not favourite despite Mercedes troubles
Listen to this article

Mercedes suffered setbacks on each of the first two days of testing in Bahrain, leaving it at the bottom of the mileage chart heading into the final running on Sunday.

By comparison, Red Bull managed close to 100 more laps than Mercedes with the RB16B car as Verstappen and teammate Sergio Perez enjoyed largely trouble-free running on the first two days.

Verstappen said after his first run-out on Friday that the car felt "predictable", and was responding well to set-up changes.

But Verstappen is refusing to look too much into Mercedes' struggles through pre-season testing, saying it was too early to say if Red Bull was in better shape than in previous years.

"It's still a bit early to say, I've only done the first day," Verstappen said ahead of his final test appearance on Sunday afternoon.

"It was just a very positive day because we did a lot of laps, and that has been different in the past.

"At the end of the day, it's a test. The amount of times that Mercedes has topped the testing in the last few years is not that high, so it doesn't really say a lot about pure performance.

"But for us, it's just all about gathering a lot of data."

Read Also:

Mercedes was able to bounce back on Saturday as Valtteri Bottas topped the timesheets, but both he and teammate Lewis Hamilton were reporting struggles with the rear end of the W12.

Asked by Motorsport.com if Red Bull had the favourite tag heading into the first race in light of Mercedes' struggles, Verstappen replied: "I don't think we are the favourites.

"If Mercedes wins that many championships in a row, I think it's still the same as before we came to the test."

Red Bull has traditionally started seasons slowly in recent years before making gains later on, with the area being a key weakness in its bid to challenge Mercedes for titles.

Although Verstappen said the car felt "very positive" from his first outings, he felt it was too early to say whether or not Red Bull would be able to start the season stronger than in recent years.

"It's a bit too early to say, nobody really has shown anything," Verstappen said.

"I'm just very happy for myself that we could do that many laps, because that's the most important.

"The engineers and everybody back at the factory, they want a lot of data, and afterwards we'll find out in Q3 on the first race weekend where we are."

shares
comments

Related video

Perez leads final morning of F1 test for Red Bull
Previous article

Perez leads final morning of F1 test for Red Bull

Next article

Alpine explains bulky airbox after "body shaming"

Alpine explains bulky airbox after "body shaming"
How departing F1 boss Brawn views F1’s new rules - and the future Prime

How departing F1 boss Brawn views F1’s new rules - and the future

Multiple-title-winning designer and team boss Ross Brawn is finally leaving Formula 1 after nearly 50 years in motorsport. But he still has plenty of insights on what’s working and what comes next, as he revealed to Motorsport.com in a far-reaching exclusive interview in Abu Dhabi.

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2022
The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat Prime

The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat

OPINION: Mattia Binotto’s departure from Ferrari will naturally bring a range of changes across the Formula 1 team. But how the changes shape up and the impact they could have is set to be dictated by a key direction Ferrari’s top dogs will need to pick

Formula 1
Nov 30, 2022
The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants Prime

The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants

OPINION: Mercedes endured its worst season of the hybrid Formula 1 era, but was mercifully spared its first winless campaign in over a decade late on. It has owned up to the mistakes it made which led to its troubled W13. And while its task to return to title-challenging contention is not small, its 2022 season seems more like a blip than the beginning of a downward spiral.

Formula 1
Nov 29, 2022
The physical focus bringing out the best from Esteban Ocon Prime

The physical focus bringing out the best from Esteban Ocon

Esteban Ocon likes to point out he’s the first driver since Lewis Hamilton to emerge from a spell as Fernando Alonso’s teammate with a superior overall points record. While some may disagree, as LUKE SMITH discovered, the 2021 Hungarian GP winner reckons it’s not just luck which has made him France’s pre-eminent Formula 1 driver of the moment…

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2022
How Red Bull's dynamic leader Mateschitz shaped its F1 philosophy Prime

How Red Bull's dynamic leader Mateschitz shaped its F1 philosophy

The death of Dietrich Mateschitz last month has not only deprived Red Bull of its visionary founder, it has shorn Formula 1 of one of its most influential benefactors. Mateschitz himself was famously media-shy, preferring to let the brand do the talking on his behalf. And, while it’s now normal to speak of Red Bull F1 titles and champions made, Mateschitz never assumed it would be easy or even possible – as ANTHONY ROWLINSON discovered during this previously unpublished interview from 2006…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2022
Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom? Prime

Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom?

OPINION: Teams that have dominated for long periods throughout Formula 1's history often take years to get back to the top of the tree once they've slipped down. But it remains to be seen whether the same will happen to Mercedes after a challenging 2022 season

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2022
What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi Prime

What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi

Arguably the favourite in the battle to finish second-best in 2022's Formula 1 standings, Sergio Perez's two-stop strategy at Abu Dhabi couldn't take him ahead of Charles Leclerc when the music stopped - and several key factors ultimately precluded him from the much-coveted runner-up spot.

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2022
The Abu Dhabi momentum that can propel Leclerc and Ferrari to F1 2023 success Prime

The Abu Dhabi momentum that can propel Leclerc and Ferrari to F1 2023 success

OPINION: Charles Leclerc achieved his target of sealing runner-up in the 2022 world championship with a masterful drive behind Max Verstappen in Abu Dhabi. And that race contained key elements that may help him, and Ferrari, go one better in Formula 1 2023

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2022