Formula 1

Another productive day for Red Bull despite minor setback

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Red Bull Racing
Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd.

Max Verstappen and Alexander Albon clocked up 113 laps for Red Bull Racing as we reached the conclusion to Day 4 of winter testing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

It wasn’t without it’s early complications however, with Albon’s morning session being curtailed with a suspension issue. Completing just 29 laps in the opening session before lunch, The British-born Thai driver was frustrated, but still optimistic after the team’s impressive mileage in the first test last week.

We had a small issue with the suspension and lost a bit of time so this morning was a little frustrating – but we did so many laps last week we’re still on a good footing and haven’t really fallen behind our plan,” said Albon.

Obviously, this week there will be more of a focus on performance, and we’ve taken some steps in the right direction. We’re trying to get the car into the best window. It’s already in a good place but there are little pieces of the puzzle we’re trying to fit together throughout the test, getting us ready for Melbourne.

Business as usual for Verstappen

Max Verstappen had a much smoother run of things in the afternoon session, with the Dutchman lapping 84 times and setting a 1:17.347 in the process – good enough for seconnd fastest. The 22-year old seemed positive, and was trying a variety of setup changes as well as testing the new Pirelli compound that is under evaluation for the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort in April.

Today I tried the new Pirelli tyre compound, but overall we were trying lots of things, learning how the car reacts under various circumstances, so when we reach Australia, we’ll know what to expect,” said Verstappen.

We won’t know how good we are until we get to Melbourne because testing isn’t about setting lap times but trying new and different things.

I stopped on track just before the end of the session but we’re not concerned and overall it was a positive day. We have a lot of grip but so do the other cars so let’s see what happens when we go racing.”

Head of race engineering, Guillaume Rocquelin, also gave his stamp of approval on today’s running, and was quick to bat away any concern with Alexander Albon’s early suspension problem, whilst also commending the team’s impressive mechanical reliability so far in terms of lap distance.

This morning we had an issue with the suspension, which cost us some time. That’s a bit of a shame but things like this are the reason why we have testing. Once that was addressed, we ran without any problems and completed a good number of laps.

Max’s stop at the very end of the day is also something we understand and is not a concern.  We were running a similar format to last week, trying out lots of set-up and suspension changes. Max also tested the new tyre that will potentially be used at Zandvoort and we have another set available that Alex will probably use tomorrow.

Overall, we had a very good day, completed a good number of laps and learned some lessons.”

The roles will be reversed for Day 5 of testing tomorrow, with Max Verstappen taking the morning session, followed by Alexander Albon taking the afternoon session after lunch.

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British Formula 4 correspondent and occasional F1 reporter for The Checkered Flag.
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