F1 journalist drops huge Max Verstappen claim that will worry Ferrari and Mercedes

Max Verstappen ran in both the morning and evening sessions of Thursday’s Bahrain test.

Red Bull have taken a slightly different approach to their pre-season testing this year, with Max Verstappen running in the first three sessions before Sergio Perez then runs in the final three sessions.

Thursday’s testing sessions were dominated by Verstappen, as the Dutchman topped a number of charts.

At 326km/h, the RB19 clocked the fastest speed of any car on the track, showing the scary potential of the car.

Verstappen also topped the timing screens in both the morning and afternoon sessions with a 1:32:837 being the fastest time set by any driver.

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The 25-year-old also completed a stunning 157 laps over the course of the day without experiencing any issues or making any major mistakes, showing the reliability of both the driver and the team.

F1 presenter Lawrence Barretto has suggested that this performance on Thursday could serve as a warning for the other teams, with the confidence that Verstappen showed hinting at another potentially dominant season.

Chatting to Max Verstappen this evening, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen him this confident during testing,” he said.

“He got up to speed quickly, the car – an evolution of last year’s car – responded well when pushed and he clocked up nearly three Grand Prix distances. Ominous.”

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Red Bull have the advantage over the likes of Ferrari and Mercedes of not having to solve any issues heading into this season.

The team’s almost flawless 2023 allows them to simply evolve the RB18 into the RB19, without having to allocate much time to solving issues.

READ: Haas show off VF-23 at Bahrain pre-season testing

Mercedes will certainly be on the back foot in Bahrain as not only do the team have to improve on their car’s performance from last year, they also need to ensure that their porpoising issue does not return with the W14.

Ferrari’s performance was much stronger than Mercedes last year but they were plagued by reliability issues which eventually forced them to tone down the output of their power unit.

Should the Scuderia be more reliable this season, they have a good chance of challenging for the title and Thursday’s issueless run will give the team the confidence boost they were looking for.