At the end of day 2 of the second week of testing, a smiling Max Verstappen met with the media to talk about a day that saw him total 102 laps with a best time of 1:20.432, but also ending the morning session with an issue that saw the team elect to do engine change on the RB13. Max was back out in the afternoon session doing a race simulation, but that was curtailed a few laps from his goal when he brought out the red flag after stopping out on track.
Here’s what he had to say:
On how the day went:
“It was actually not a bad day, of course, we had some stoppages in the afternoon. We almost completed a full race distance in one go. It felt good. I think we had a lot of information today again, so that is always important.”
On following Lewis on the medium tyres in this afternoon’s session:
“I was on my race distance, so I think we were both on different programmes anyway. I was just trying to do my thing, and everything felt good.”
On the race simulation finishing early this afternoon – ran out of fuel?
“Unfortunately, I didn’t run out of fuel. We were two laps short of the race distance. I think we got a lot of data, unfortunately we had to stop with a similar issue that made us stop this morning, but in one way, I am quite confident because the Renault boys already have some plans in place to change that for Melbourne anyway, so it should be alright.”
On Dr Marko’s comments on Renault’s performance this year – is it bothering Max?
“No, I always stay very positive, and I try not to think about it too much. You know, that’s what testing is for, to challenge all the parts, and see how good they are and where you can improve. For sure, we learned a lot today again, and that’s positive for the future.”
On where Red Bull are in the field, after Ricciardo’s comments that they don’t have 2 seconds in their pocket:
“I think the good thing is that nobody had 2 seconds in their pocket, so we’ll see. It’s really difficult to say as you never know how much fuel the other people are running, and also the cars are still pretty new, so you can do a lot of set-up changes until you find the right one – you can work in that direction and you gain even more performance. There’s still a lot of work today, because we haven’t tested all of the available options in terms of setting up the car, but so far I think everything is going pretty well.”
On how different the car RB13 feels in Week 2 of testing compared to Week 1:
“Just a little bit better balanced, to be honest. You know you always try to improve, and luckily we are heading in the right direction, so it’s even more enjoyable to drive.”
On stamina, and how he feels after 102 laps:
“It’s alright. I did a lot more training anyway in the winter, so I actually feel better than last year!”
On how far the car is from being 100%:
“I don’t think it can ever be 100%, because you keep developing the car, so it’s difficult to give a percentage.”
On how responsive the car is to his driving:
“It’s a smooth balance, and it’s a predictable car, so you turn in, you know exactly what the car is going to do, so I think that’s very positive.”
Is he smiling underneath the crash helmet?
“More than last year because it’s more enjoyable to take the corners now!”