Verstappen enters second F1 year ‘physically stronger’

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Max Verstappen has noticed that he is ‘physically stronger’ ahead of his second Formula One campaign with Toro Rosso.

Many eyebrows were raised when the Dutchman was promoted from F3 straight to F1 at the tender age of 16 and after only season in single-seaters. Verstappen quickly silenced his critics though, becoming the youngest driver to ever score points in the championship as early as round two in Malaysia.

The teenager then went on delivering impressive performances, including two fourth-place finishes in Hungary and the US, en route to 12th in the standings with 49 points.

With Verstappen stepping up his preparations before pre-season testing kicks off in Barcelona later this month, the F1 sophomore explains how his programme has changed compared to his rookie season.

“My training schedule is now different to last year: my body can handle more, so the power training and conditioning are more intensive,” he told the official Toro Rosso website. “Compared to last year, I'm now physically stronger on all levels. I have noticed that and it's something positive.”

Speaking about his daily routine, the 18-year-old added:

“I'm training hard with my [coach] in Monaco to prepare myself well and intensively for the new Formula One season. I go to the gym twice a day. There is a good one here, with all the facilities we need.

“In the morning, the exercises are aimed at stamina and conditioning. In the afternoon, [we do] more power training. We don't only work with gym equipment, but also with elastic fitness bands. We try to use our own body weight to work out.”

The opening four-day pre-season test gets underway on February 22 at the Spanish Grand Prix venue, with Toro Rosso expected to roll out its new STR11 – which recently passed the FIA crash tests – in the Barcelona pit lane that morning.

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