Max Verstappen says Red Bull must not get "carried away" after its strong start to the Formula 1 season in Australia last weekend, believing the team will still not know its place in the pecking order for at least two more races.

Verstappen finished third for Red Bull at the Australian Grand Prix as the team made an impressive start to life with Honda power units, delivering the Japanese manufacturer its first podium finish since 2008.

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Verstappen ended the race over half a minute clear of both Ferrari drivers and narrowly behind Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton, but said Red Bull could not get ahead of itself looking ahead to next week's Bahrain Grand Prix.

"Starting the season with a podium in Australia is really positive but Melbourne is not a typical circuit, so we can’t get carried away," Verstappen said in the team's pre-Bahrain release.

"I don’t think we will really know where we stand until after China.”

The result led Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff to label Red Bull-Honda as a "threat" in the title race for 2019, with both parties looking to end a difficult period of form in F1.


Verstappen heads to Bahrain seeking his sixth consecutive podium finish, but is yet to record a result any better than sixth at the Sakhir circuit, and has retired in each of the past two races there.

“I enjoy the track and the transition from day to night is a challenge in terms of car balance, so that always makes it an interesting weekend," Verstappen said.

"You never really know where you stand when you start qualifying because you haven’t had the optimal preparation as the track conditions aren't the same during practice.

"The middle sector, which is quite technical, is the best part of the Bahrain circuit and I hope it’s good for racing again this year."