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Max Verstappen: Don't read too much into Red Bull pace


The Dutchman has downplayed his fastest time.

Max Verstappen has played down projections on Red Bull's pace, heading into next weekend's Formula 1® season opener in Bahrain.

The reigning world champion set the fastest time during the final pre-season test at Sakhir - where next week's opener will also be held - almost a full seven-tenths quicker than Ferrari's Charles Leclerc in second, and nearly a second quicker than Alpine's Fernando Alonso in third.

However, the 24-year-old asserted Red Bull were more concerned with gathering tyre data at the test than lighting up the timesheets.

"Nobody is [giving it] full beans in qualifying-spec at the moment," Verstappen said. "Of course the car is better in low fuel and actually on the high fuel the car doesn't really do a lot, but it's the same for everyone.

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"It was just a general progression of the day and we were just trying a few different tyres. But I think the main focus was about the tyres, we're going to use next week. But the car was feeling alright, and we went through our programme which we planned to do, and that's always positive."

Along with this season's regulation changes on tyre diameter, Verstappen was also quick to point out car response to the Sakhir circuit's more favourable conditions, in comparison to the opening pre-season test in Barcelona.

"You know, compared to Barcelona I think more of it is just the track - the rough surface, warmer conditions, and the layout of the track makes it a completely different feeling compared to Barcelona," he said.

"But yes, of course, I think we learned a lot more about the cars, so we made the car faster, and I think that's what you want.

"I think with the new parts, which arrived today, they also worked well, which you always hope for. They worked, so then hopefully we'll keep them on [for the opening race]."