Max Verstappen relishing “technical” challenge of Bahrain

Credit: Robert Cianflone/Red Bull Content Pool

After a testing season opener in Australia, Aston Martin Red Bull Racing‘s Max Verstappen is looking to properly kick-start his 2018 season with a positive result at next week’s Bahrain Grand Prix.

Verstappen claimed sixth place at Albert Park just under a week ago, finishing 28 seconds behind winner Sebastian Vettel following a troublesome start and early spin whilst chasing Kevin Magnussen for fourth place.

However, with Red Bull showing promising early signs, Verstappen hopes for better fortunes in Bahrain, a venue he takes great pleasure in visiting.

“I always enjoy going to Bahrain,” said Verstappen. “I have a few friends out there so it’s always nice to catch up with them and enjoy the warmth.”

Verstappen also harked back to his days in world championship karting, having raced in Bahrain before his time in Formula 1.

“The go kart track there is really good, I had a world championship race there when I was younger. It was very new at the time but I really enjoyed it.”

Moving to matters on the main track, the Dutchman spoke about the tests faced over the “interesting” weekend – Bahrain transformed into a night race for its tenth edition in 2014, which Verstappen is also excited about.

“Driving under the lights is always nice as we don’t get a lot of opportunity throughout the year,” he added.

The 20-year-old echoed team-mate Daniel Ricciardo‘s thoughts on the Bahrain International Circuit – the demanding track layout mixed with fluctuating session times and temperatures makes setting up the car a real issue.

“The weekend is an interesting one,” mused Verstappen.

“You only have one session to understand how the car behaves under the night race conditions because the other two sessions are during the day, so it’s a bit hot.”

Over its 14-year history in Formula 1, Bahrain has developed a reputation for being a challenge to the drivers, with some parts of the track requiring both braking and steering loads simultaneously; most pertinently at the double left handed complex of Turns 9 and 10 in the middle sector.

“The track itself is very technical, you have some slow corners and then you end up in some really fast corners which makes it a fun circuit.”