Max Verstappen happy with a ‘basic understanding’ after post-season testing session in Abu Dhabi

ORACLE Red Bull Racing team secured its second World Championship with Dutch driver Max Verstappen after the 25-year-old achieved a staggering 15 Grands Prix wins and four-hundred and fifty-four points in the Drivers’ Championship. The Milton-Keynes-based team brought the curtain down on a knockout season, which featured the team breaking the record for the largest points haul in Formula One history, with an all-around positive and highly successful post-season test in Abu Dhabi.

The track activities for the post-season testing featured two cars for the single-day test, the drivers split tyre evaluation duties between them with the 2022 World Champion sitting behind the wheel in the afternoon, whilst Mexican driver Sergio Perez led the action in the afternoon.

The double-winning title RB18 took to the circuit one last time at the Yas Marina as the two drivers completed a round total of one hundred and sixty-four laps between them.

Verstappen was pleased with the outcome and felt as if the team are already on the right track, although the double-world champion is still remaining cautious as tyres are notorious for varying in performance, circuit dependent.

“We completed our programme and got a first, basic understanding for next year,” said Verstappen, “which I think worked out well. It’s always nice, when you have the final compound construction, to get a few laps in but at each track the tyres behave differently, so it’s difficult to judge. Having said that, it’s always better to have something rather than nothing. Overall, everything behaved quite normally, so it was a good day.”

Although lap times were not important during the testing session, Perez was out-paced by team-mate Verstappen and the new up-and-coming Red Bull driver, Liam Lawson, who managed a time of 1.26.281s. Yet this seemed to leave the driver unphased as Perez was the first driver to test out the new 2023 slicks in high heat temperatures.

Despite missing out on the runner-up position of the 2022 Drivers’ Championship to Scuderia Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc, Perez seemed in good spirits as he reflected on the morning’s work.

“I think we have had a good morning overall and have plenty of information to give to the Team and the engineers,” said Perez, “so I am pleased with the work we have done. The new compounds still tend to be quite close, as they were this season, but the front is a little bit stronger than the 2022 versions.

“We are working with the tyres in very hot conditions here and everything is still early days, so we still have a lot to learn and analyse. It will be interesting to see how they perform in cooler temperatures, which would reflect race temperatures better when Max is in the car later on.”