Max Verstappen says Red Bull can “do a lot better” than its early performances have suggested so far in the 2019 Formula 1 season. 

Red Bull enjoyed a competitive season-opener in Melbourne, with Verstappen beating the Ferraris to secure Honda’s first podium of the V6 hybrid era to kick off its new engine collaboration on a positive note.

But the team was less competitive in Bahrain as both drivers struggled with set-up and car balance throughout the weekend. Verstappen ultimately ended up fourth, while Pierre Gasly finished eighth to register his first points of the season. 

F1 Driver Ratings - Bahrain Grand Prix

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“It cannot be worse than what we showed here,” Verstappen said when asked for his thoughts on Red Bull’s chances in China. 

“We made some mistakes in terms of setup [in Bahrain], so I think if you look back to Australia we were quite happy. 

“We were still 20 seconds off to Valtteri [Bottas], but in that race I couldn’t go and push like I wanted to because I was always held up by other cars. I think we can do a lot better than what we showed so far.”

Verstappen got some additional running in Red Bull’s RB15 car on the opening day of the post-Bahrain Grand Prix test on Tuesday and described the outing as “very helpful” in the team’s efforts to better understand its 2019 challenger. 

“I think we learnt a lot already from it so from that way I think it is very positive,” he added. 

“We don’t have that many days to really understand the car and during the weekend it all goes very quickly doing just one-and-a-half hour sessions, which is not amazing, so to have a day like this was very helpful.”

Asked which areas Red Bull has targeted for improvement, Verstappen replied: “In every area you can always work on, we knew what went wrong here in terms of rear grip so we tried to work on that.

“It’s a bit of everything. You always want more downforce, but it is also about how you can balance it. Clearly we did something wrong during the weekend so that is why it [the test] was a very positive for us.”

 

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