Red Bull didn't expect to be so competitive - Verstappen

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Max Verstappen says Red Bull "didn't expect to be this competitive that early in the season" after a recent upturn in form.

Red Bull had scored just one podium in the opening four races of the season before Verstappen replaced Daniil Kvyat, with the 18-year-old going on to win the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona. Daniel Ricciardo then took pole position in Monaco and should have won the race but for a pit stop error, and Red Bull was again quick in Canada but limited to fourth due to excessive tyre wear.

Asked which team Red Bull is targeting for the rest of the season out of Mercedes and Ferrari, Verstappen replied: "Both.

"No I don’t know, I mean it’s difficult to say. We got a bit closer but I think it’s too early to say where we are exactly. We can improve the car a bit, hopefully we can improve the engine a bit, everything together but so far I think it hasn’t been too bad.

"Of course the race in Canada could have been a bit better, we could have been on the podium if we got everything right but in general I am pretty happy with the performance we have shown so far. Also I think the team didn’t expect to be this competitive that early in this season."

Ahead of the first practice session in Baku, Verstappen says the focus will be on finding the right set-up more than learning the new street track.

“You definitely build it up but it’s a bit like Monaco so the first practice is just about getting the laps in and feel a bit more comfortable and see what is the right wing level because on this track it’s a bit more difficult than Monaco. [In Monaco] you just go maximum downforce but here because of the long straight you have to judge a bit where you want to gain the lap time.”

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