Max Verstappen explained that Red Bull Racing focussed its attention on its performance weak spots on the first day of the post-Bahrain Grand Prix test.
Verstappen set the fastest time seen on Tuesday at the Bahrain International Circuit with a 1:29.379 on C3-specification Pirelli Motorsport tyres, nearly six-tenths of a second faster than second-placed Scuderia Ferrari debutant Mick Schumacher.
The Dutchman completed 62 laps, before he hands over to Red Bull junior Dan Ticktum on Wednesday, during an unusually wet Tuesday in Bahrain.
The adverse weather conditions meant that Red Bull and the rest of the field were restricted to minimal afternoon running outside of the last hour, but Verstappen said that Red Bull managed to target the main issue that hampered its Bahrain weekend performance – a lack of rear grip.
“It was a little bit wet, which is strange, but overall I think we had a good day,” said Verstappen.
“We managed to get in a lot of laps to help us understand more about our performance over the race weekend, and I think we’ve already learned a lot, so that’s very positive.”
Verstappen’s team-mate Pierre Gasly complained of his inability to confidently put the throttle down on corner-exit after his early elimination from Saturday’s qualifying session, while Verstappen echoed those sentiments by saying that he didn’t “have a single lap” with full confidence in the rear of the car over the meeting.
Despite the issues, both Verstappen and Gasly managed to take points in Sunday’s race with fourth and eighth respectively – with the former close to a podium courtesy of the ailing Ferrari of Charles Leclerc.
“We don’t get that many days to really understand the car, and during a race weekend it all goes by so quickly, so days like today are very helpful,” he added.
“We knew what didn’t work over the weekend in terms of rear-end grip so we tried to work on that and I think we learned a lot.”