Pierre Gasly says his Formula 1 teammate Max Verstappen is providing him with a “good benchmark” to learn from during his first season at Red Bull.

Gasly linked up alongside Verstappen following his winter graduation to Red Bull from sister squad Toro Rosso but has so far been unable to match the Dutchman’s early season form.

Verstappen has scored two podiums and sits third in the drivers’ championship, while sixth-placed Gasly took a best result of sixth in China and Spain and has managed just 21 points compared to Verstappen’s tally of 66.

“I’ve always known he’s one of the most talented guys, but I must say he is really good at extracting the maximum from the package at the moment,” Gasly said.

“For me it’s really good to be next to him at the moment, use his experience with the team, with Red Bull Racing, with the car, to see a bit what he does to extract the maximum from the package that we have.

“He has been driving really well, really consistently, so it’s definitely a good benchmark to me.”

Gasly feels he is beginning to make progress after initially struggling to get to grips with Red Bull’s RB15 in the early rounds of the campaign.

“I think it’s kind of getting better progressively, but still not exactly where I like,” he explained.

“Still have a few things on my side in terms of driving I can change to adapt a bit more to this car and I’ll keep working on, and still a few things to extract the potential with this car.

“I’m still a bit too aggressive with the car and the package we have it’s a bit on the edge and as soon as you go over the grip you pay it quite hard and I think especially the traction I have a few things I can change to improve that.”

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner defended Gasly’s form and believes the Frenchman is on his way out of a difficult patch.

“Pierre continues to get stronger,” Horner said. “His race was compromised in the second half because he picked up some debris in the front wing but he drove a strong race.

“Obviously we want to get him in that fight with the cars ahead now, but every weekend he’s made progress this year.”

Asked if the time has come for Gasly to step up his performances, Horner replied: “I think in fairness to Pierre it’s starting to come.

“China was a turning point for him, he had a good weekend in Baku, and he’s followed that up with a very solid weekend in Spain.”

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