Max Verstappen has downplayed Red Bull’s early impressive form after topping the timesheets on the opening day of Formula 1 pre-season testing.

Verstappen set the fastest time on day one of testing in Bahrain, just over 0.2s clear of McLaren’s Lando Norris.

The Dutchman completed 139 laps come the close of the day - the most of any single driver.

While it was a strong day for Red Bull, reigning champions Mercedes completed the fewest laps of anyone after a gear shift issue forced it into a gearbox change in the morning session.

Reflecting on the opening day of testing in Bahrain, Verstappen wasn’t getting carried away after topping the timesheets but felt it was “a very positive day”.

“Yeah very good, we had a very positive day,” Verstappen said. “We could do a lot of laps, even though the track conditions were quite difficult - very warm, a lot of wind - and of course we know the degradation around here is quite high and it’s not easy to do a lot of laps in a row.

“But very happy with today. I mean, we don’t need to speak about pace or whatever, we just did our programme, the car felt nice to drive which I think is always very positive to start the test like that.”

A sandstorm had hit the circuit resulting in poor track conditions and visibility.

Speaking of the conditions, he added: “The heat initially just makes it all a bit more difficult in general, but I have to say I changed my visor and I think it’s always looking a bit more tricky on the camera. When you’re sitting in the car it’s fine.”

Verstappen will hand the RB16B over to new teammate Sergio Perez for day two of the test.