Max Verstappen says Red Bull has addressed the problems that hampered the team in 2020, as he opened his 2021 campaign with a pole position in Bahrain.
The Dutchman ended Saturday’s session almost four-tenths of a second ahead of Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, marking the first time in the turbo-hybrid era that Mercedes has not claimed the first pole of the year.
Last year, Red Bull’s challenger proved to be unstable at the rear during the season, leaving it off the pace on most occasions to rivals Mercedes.
However, the team’s pole position in Bahrain indicates it possesses a more complete package to start 2021, with Verstappen stating the omens of last season have been eliminated.
“The last few years it hasn’t really materialised but in a way, the regulations haven’t really changed a lot [in 2021] and we knew what our weaknesses were last year,” Verstappen said.
“It seems like we addressed them so far at the beginning of the year. Of course, [I’m] very happy with that.
“[It’s a] great start for us but no guarantees for the future. But very happy so far with the whole weekend.
“I think it shows that the guys after the end of last year just kept pushing very hard and now the adjustments that have been made to the car, they’ve done a great job. So really happy for the whole team.”
Verstappen also praised Red Bull’s Power Unit supplier Honda, who have pushed through its planned engine for 2022 this year ahead of their exit at the end of the season.
“Their turnaround has been pretty good and their understanding of the engine is impressive,” Verstappen said.
“It’s really enjoyable to work with them as well, they’re really passionate and emotional, which I like.
“They are just flat out all the time, they want to win, you can really see that. Big credit to them also for the result today. They had a great winter.”