Max Verstappen believes Red Bull’s 2020 Formula 1 car is “faster everywhere” after a positive opening day of pre-season testing.

Red Bull is confident about mounting a serious title challenge to Mercedes this year in its bid to end the German manufacturer’s impressive streak of dominance throughout the V6 hybrid era.

Verstappen enjoyed a strong first day of running at Barcelona as winter testing got underway on Wednesday. The Dutchman finished fourth in the timesheets, half a second off Lewis Hamilton’s benchmark time, but completed 168 laps single-handedly in Red Bull’s new Honda-powered RB16.

“The car is faster everywhere, which is a good thing and the reliability seems even better,” Verstappen said. “So that’s all very positive.

"We definitely have improved the car in areas we wanted to. We did a lot of laps to test all the parts out and see where we can improve it further.

"It’s been a good day and the car has been working really well together with the engine,” he added.

"That’s what we want to see and that’s the most important thing. I’m very happy about that, we just want to learn the car, try things on the car and look through the data and see what we can improve.”

Verstappen was seen having a number of off-track moments during the afternoon, including two spins in the final sector at Turn 13, but he was quick to brush off both incidents.

“I touched once the gravel and that’s why I spun,” he explained.

“Those things can happen when you are trying to see the limits of what the car can do. Those things part of it but luckily damage which is the most important.”

Asked if Red Bull had passed its first test, Verstappen replied: “No, the first test will be Melbourne.”



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