Pierre Gasly says focusing on trying to beat Formula 1 teammate Max Verstappen would not be the “right target” for his first season with Red Bull. 

The Frenchman graduated from Toro Rosso after just a single full-season in F1 to partner Verstappen at the Red Bull senior squad following Daniel Ricciardo’s shock departure to join Renault for 2019.

Asked if his aim is to beat Verstappen straight away, Gasly replied: “I think at the moment, it’s clearly not the target. 

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“We don’t have the same experience in the team and also in Formula 1, so I would say that would not be the right target, to focus on him at the moment. 

“I think the main thing is to use his experience, his speed and his talent to learn and take the positives from him to basically make me stronger and learn as fast as possible within the team, and be able to show my speed. 

“It would not be the right target to start the season,” he added. “I’ve only got one full season experience under my belt at the moment so of course I still have a lot of things to learn. 

“The driver I am today is hopefully really different to the driver I am going to be at the end of the season. I think the main thing for me this year is to use the experience of the team. 

“They have been world champions with Seb, they have been fighting at the top for many years, the experience of Max and the experience of his Red Bull seasons just to keep developing myself and being able to show my full potential that for sure is going to evolve and increase through the season.

“Just learn as fast as possible to show my speed, I would say that is clearly target number one after results.” 

Red Bull has made positive noises about the early signs coming from its relationship with new engine partner Honda during pre-season testing. 

Gasly admitted it is “difficult” to have expectations heading into the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, while Verstappen said motivation is high within the Red Bull ranks. 

“Everybody is just very motivated, very positive, and very focused on the job,” Verstappen said. 

“We had a good winter test, not too many issues. I was just very happy about how everybody was working together which is very important and a good start. 

“Of course, integrating the new engine into the chassis but it didn’t seem like it was giving us problems, so very happy about that. I could do most of my running, so that was very positive. 

“In terms of performance, I think it’s a bit difficult to judge at the moment where we exactly are. I didn’t have time to do any performance runs or whatever. We are happy with what we did. 

“It can always be better, I think everybody has that thought. I guess here, not only here in Melbourne, we’ll find out in during the beginning of the season where we stand.”

Additional reporting by Michael Lamonato

 

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