Verstappen hopes Red Bull can be competitive from the start.

Verstappen during Winter Testing
Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Aston Martin Red Bull Racing‘s Max Verstappen hopes the team can be competitive from the start of the 2018 Formula One Season, which begins this weekend at the Australian Grand Prix.

Red Bull have had to play catch-up to the top two teams over the last few years, and tend to make a good step forward during the second half of the year. Verstappen was plagued by unreliability up until the summer break last year but made up for that by taking wins later in the season in Malaysia and Mexico. But this year, he wants to be competitive from the word go.

We are hoping to have made a large step forward this year and be competitive from the start, to have a fast car from race one and continue for the rest of the season would be great,” he said.

Action gets underway at the Albert Park circuit this weekend, which Verstappen enjoys but admits is difficult to overtake on. The street circuit is a real challenge for the drivers, but one that can be hugely rewarding, especially through the high-speed corners of Turns Eleven and Twelve.

“Albert Park is not the easiest track to overtake on, we will try our best but the straights are not quite long enough and a lot of the corners leading to the straights are 90 degree turns, and this makes it hard to set-up a pass,” he continued.

“Turns 11 and 12 are the fastest corners and really cool to drive, especially in qualifying, with low fuel, in sixth or seventh gear. I think it is about 270 kilometres per hour.

‘The trees around the circuit sometimes make your braking markers hard to spot with shadows, it’s quite normal on a street circuit but makes it more challenging for us to get it right.

“I always enjoy going to Melbourne, I like the country and the temperature, which is always a welcome change compared to Europe at this time of year.

“The fans are very passionate about racing and especially Formula 1, as it has a great history in Australia.”