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SCARPERIA, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 12: Third placed qualifier Max Verstappen of Netherlands and Red Bull Racing in parc ferme during qualifying for the F1 Grand Prix of Tuscany at Mugello Circuit on September 12, 2020 in Scarperia, Italy. (Photo by Dan Istitene - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

Verstappen: Red Bull “stupid” for thinking they are quicker than Mercedes in 2021

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Red Bull were arguably the stars of pre season testing, with the car and Honda power unit performing incredibly well in the Bahrain desert. Despite this strong showing, Max Verstappen has said the team would be “stupid” for believing they are faster than Mercedes heading into 2021. 

Mercedes were perhaps the surprise of the pre-season test, and not for the right reasons. The reigning world champions struggled to get on top of the W12 during the 3 days running, with spins and reliability issues plaguing their test. In contrast the RB16B seemed a dominant beast, planted to the track and no reliability issues across the 2 Honda powered teams.

Verstappen remains wary of Red Bull’s chances saying “For sure the test was a positive start for us and you can always be happy when you get that number of laps in and get a good understanding of the car but it doesn’t say anything about pure performance.”

“I know people are excited and think we are just saying this, but Mercedes are still the favourites – how can they not be when they have won seven world championships in a row. I’m sure Mercedes also want people to think we are the favourites and put the pressure on us but we are just focused on ourselves.

“You can be sure that everyone in this team and at Honda is pushing to beat them and anyone else who may be quick this year. I see every season as a new opportunity to beat them, but we would be stupid to expect that fight to be easy and look at testing and think we are ahead. I personally can’t wait until we are all pushing in Q3. That is when you will see everyone at full power with low fuel and that is the time to see who developed performance-wise.

“Then in the race, we will see who can keep that performance over a race distance. Let’s hope we can be good at both.”

Red Bull outperformed Mercedes at the season finale in Abu Dhabi in 2020 and Verstappen feels this will play to their advantage as the 2021 season begins. “I have a good feel for the car,” added Verstappen. “From my side, the car was stable enough to feel comfortable. There are always things to do better but we are always making improvements and that is what the engineers will do.

“Now I have to deliver and the team have to deliver so we can try and mount a title fight. We all know our roles. It’s time to see who has got what.

Only a fool would bet against Mercedes improving greatly before the season opener. But could this be Red Bull’s year? Let us know your thoughts on Formulanerds social media!

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