Max Verstappen has called on his Red Bull team to learn from its mistakes of previous years in order to hit the ground running and be “stronger” at the start of the 2021 Formula 1 season.

The Dutchman ended the year on a winning note by claiming just his second victory of 2020 with a dominant performance at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, as he beat both Mercedes to convert a first pole position of the season into a place on the top step of the podium.

Verstappen acknowledged the result was a “good boost” for everyone at Red Bull and he wants his team to carry that momentum through the winter and into 2021 as the Milton Keynes squad looks to put in a sterner challenge to Mercedes.

“To be honest, I didn’t expect before I got here to win the race here and be on pole,” Verstappen said after the race in Abu Dhabi.

“It’s a great way to finish the season, it’s a good boost for everyone in the team here, but also back at the factory.

“I just hope of course that we learn from the previous years that we have to be stronger at the beginning of the season to be able to give then a little bit of a harder time.”

Red Bull has had a tendency to make slower starts to seasons before coming on stronger in the second half of the year, by which point it is too late to mount a serious title push.

The team made encouraging progress with the understanding of its complex 2020 challenger and is confident it will iron out any underlying issues with its ‘b-spec’ replacement, the RB16B, in 2021.

Red Bull is also set to receive a boost from outgoing engine supplier Honda, with the Japanese manufacturer working on introducing a brand new power unit before it bows out of F1 at the end of the upcoming season.

“We know we have to work hard over the winter to be better and stronger because you can’t just rely on this result,” Verstappen added.

“We know that we still have to improve the car a lot and we know it’s some areas where we have to really work on and that’s not only on the car but also power-wise – we need more.

“I hope we learn from the last few years, it’s not like we do it on purpose but yeah, we will definitely go into the winter with a good feeling.

“It’s always nice to win the last race, I think, for the whole team, especially after a year like this when it’s very tough and a lot of races followed up after each other so yeah, it’s been hard on everyone, especially mechanics but also the people back in the factory manufacturing all the new parts because we brought quite a lot this year.

“I just hope that we learn from our mistakes – also at the beginning of this year [those] we made and hopefully build a better car to start next year.”

 

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