Max Verstappen is 'relaxed and ready to go'

© XPB 

It's a new departure of sorts for Max Verstappen, the young Dutchman becoming the de facto leader at Red Bull and with a new Honda power unit in the back of his RB15.

On the back of a productive pre-season testing period and significant progress from Honda, Red Bull's new engine supplier, the Milton Keynes-based outfit has offered a positive outlook for Melbourne.

Despite a lack of pure performance running in Barcelona, partly because of Pierre Gasly's crash in the second week of testing, Verstappen isn't feeling any particular tensions ahead of this weekend's season-opening race.

"I'm feeling good, I'm positive," he said on Thursday.

"I guess time will tell how competitive we're going to be, and even if it's not ideal here, it's a very long season ahead. I'm relaxed, we'll see."

Both Red Bull motorsport boss Helmut Marko and team principal Christian Horner have vaunted the merits of Honda.

Verstappen confirmed the Japanese manufacturer's development, but the 21-year-old still errs on the side of caution.

"It's a step up from last year so that is very positive," he admitted. "If it's going to be enough yet, I don't know.

"I guess we'll find out in qualifying but there are a lot of things coming as well. We are pushing really hard from the chassis side but also now from the engine side,

"I think to have those two combinations working that hard and together as well, it's just really good."

Verstappen endured a difficult start to his 2018 campaign, with a series of mishaps generating a bout of criticism from his peers. However, according to Marko, the young charger has matured, and added patience to his skills.

"Throughout the years you learn a lot of course in Formula 1, to be honest it just makes me feel more and more relaxed about the whole think," said Verstappen.

"I just want to get racing first of all and then we'll see where we end up. As a personal feeling, I'm just feeling relaxed and ready to go."

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