Max Verstappen says the first race of a new Formula 1 season is always an exciting period as teams and drivers up and down the grid finally get to see their true performance levels compared to their rivals for the first time.
The Red Bull Racing driver is waiting for the first real track action of the year after taking part in just four days of testing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, and the first sessions of the season at the Albert Park circuit in Australia will be worth the wait.
“The first race is always exciting as you never really know where you are in terms of performance with the car because everything is so new, this is reflected in the paddock too, it’s a refreshing feeling,” insisted the Dutchman.
With the race being team-mate Daniel Ricciardo’s home Grand Prix, Verstappen knows there will be a lot of attention paid to him and his team all weekend, but knows the excitement will truly come once cars get out on track.
“Being Daniel’s home grand prix he obviously gets a lot of support which is very nice for him,” said Verstappen. “I can’t wait to feel the buzz of all the cars going out for the first practice and seeing the excitement on everyone’s face.”
Verstappen will head to Australia early to acclimatise himself and adjust to the time zone, but knows it will be easy to be fired up for the first race of the season.
“We always arrive in Australia a bit early due to the time difference, this way we have a bit longer to acclimatise,” said Verstappen. “The first two or three days you struggle with jetlag a bit but then it’s fine because you are just really excited for the first race of the year.
“I enjoy going to Melbourne as it’s a cool city, nice environment and good weather so generally a great place to stay. I found some nice restaurants down by the Yarra River so whenever we have time I will head down there for some dinner.”