Max Verstappen says that Red Bull ticked off the “most important” box from the early stages pre-season testing, as the RB19 car ran reliably throughout the opening day of running.
Verstappen set a mammoth 157 laps during the day and was the only driver complete both the morning and afternoon sessions.
The Dutchman also set the fastest lap time of the day, clocking a 1:32.837.
As he enters the year off the back of a dominant 2022 campaign, it’s far too early to tell if the RB19 has a similar advantage over its rivals once again.
However, Verstappen says that strong early mileage signals a positive start for the Milton Keynes-based squad.
“It was good. A lot of laps, so that’s of course what we wanted,” Verstappen said.
“[It was] basically a smooth day [with] no issues. We could really focus on the car, try a few things, to understand also the new tyres for this year.
“We got loads of running during the day when it was really hot, or kind of hot, and in the evening as well – so a pretty okay day.
“It’s difficult to tell [where we are] at the moment, but the car is running well, and I think that’s the most important.”
“A bit more running, a bit more understanding on the different tyre compounds, then from there onwards just make our minds up what we’re going to do starting the race weekend.”
This year marks the second campaign under a new set of technical regulations, with the rulebook receiving a dramatic overhaul last season.
Verstappen says that pre-season this time around is easier compared to 2022 as the challengers are evolutions of their predecessors rather than brand new machines.
“[The car is] a bit of an evolution from last year,” he said. “I think last year was more a time where you were really adapting to the car, really understanding what you had to do.
“Of course, with all the knowledge from last year, I think it’s already a much easier start for everyone to come back here.
It’s nice to see the new car, how it has evolved from last year, how the behaviour is a bit different, and also because of the tyres. It was a good day to understand all of that.”
“That’s what we are working on. This is only one track, right. There are a lot of races on the calendar where you need different things from the car, so step-by-step.”
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