Verstappen: RB16 'definite improvement' despite setbacks

Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing RB16.
© XPB 

Max Verstappen put in a strong performance on Wednesday as f1 returned to the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya for the second week of 2020 pre-season testing, finishing the day with the second fastest time of 1:17.347s.

“This year the car is definitely an improvement," he told the media after completing his stint behind the wheel. "It has to be if you want to fight for the championship."

Verstappen added that the focus now was ensuring that the RB16 was as good in race trim as it was in qualifying set-up, rather than having to choose one over the other.

“It needs to be both," he insisted. "Last year sometimes we had a decent race car, sometimes qualifying was okay, but I think overall we need to step up - and we are working on that.

"It is a completely different track as well, whatever works here it is not a guarantee that it is going to work in Melbourne," he added. "So we'll just focus on ourselves and then find out in Melbourne where we are."

Despite his general satisfaction with how the day had gone, Verstappen also suffered several spins - the last of which came five minutes before the finish, triggering a red flag that curtailed the four-hour session when the RB16 could not get going again.

“It was not planned, that is for sure,” Verstappen said when asked about the curious slow-speed spin at turn 10. "I don’t know what happened yet. The car will come back and will look at it.”

Even with the premature finish, Verstappen completed a total of 84 laps during the afternoon, having taken over at the wheel of the RB16 at lunch time from early runner Alexander Albon.

Alexander Albon (THA) Red Bull Racing RB16.

For his part, Albon managed to put in only 29 laps after being stuck in the garage while the engineers tackled a suspension problem. He wouldn't be drawn on whether the problem was at the front or back, or related to the team's revolutionary new double bulkhead design.

“I spent most of the morning in hospitality drinking coffee," Albon told the website. "We found something we didn’t want so that’s pretty much it.

“It is frustrating but I think we did so many laps already last week that we haven’t fallen behind our plan," he added. "Everything isn’t too bad, even though we only did a few laps.

Even with the limited running, Albon was third fastest in the morning timesheets with a best lap of 1:17.550s.

“The car was feeling pretty good, already feeling better than it was last week," Albon confirmed. “We are trying some stuff out, and of course this week is more of a performance week compared to the week before.

“We can’t really speak too much but it is feeling good," he added.

Gallery: The beautiful wives and girlfriends of F1 drivers

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter