First laps in new car will tell Verstappen where he stands

Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Malaysian Grand Prix
© XPB 

Max Verstappen says he'll get an idea of his title chances this year after just one day of testing in Red Bull Racing's new car.

The 20-year-old embarks on his fourth season of F1 and hopes the Milton Keynes outfit and engine partner Renault will hit the ground running when pre-season testing kicks off in Barcelona on February 26.

The Dutch prodigy is just as anxious as anyone to get behind the wheel of his 2018 charger and assess his chances of fighting at the front this season.

"Normally you get an impression at the very beginning of the year, but this is not the goal," says Verstappen.

"The most important thing is to get reliability in testing so you can determine the driving characteristics of the new car.

"But you can understand if a car is good or not already in the first day of testing," Verstappen added.

Red Bull enjoyed a successful end to 2017, with Verstappen winning in Malaysia and Mexico. The Dutchman is therefore hoping to keep the momentum going at the outset in Melbourne.

"Yes, we still need to of course to wait and see how competitive we are with the new car and engine," he adds.

"But being a driver, you always need to have faith in yourself, I think."

Like his colleagues, Verstappen enjoyed a winter break but has been in full preparation mode for several weeks now.

"I'm a little more relaxed than my first seasons in Formula 1, because now I know what awaits me. But physically it's difficult, so I still have to train very well."

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