‘I don’t know’: Verstappen unsure of Red Bull’s relative pace

Red Bull put 677 laps together in the two pre-season tests in Barcelona and Bahrain in recent weeks ahead of the 2022 season.

Reigning world champion Max Verstappen maintains that his team are still not completely aware of where they are in the pecking order ahead of the new season, but was pleased with testing in Spain and Bahrain.

Having unveiled their new car in February, Red Bull took to the track in Barcelona for the first pre-season test and went relatively under the radar compared to Mercedes, McLaren and Ferrari, setting 358 laps between Verstappen and team-mate Sergio Perez.

This was 80 less than Ferrari who appeared particularly competent during the opening three days last month, but some distinct sidepods on the Milton Keynes side caught the eye particularly of Mercedes’ Sir Lewis Hamilton, who was taking a peek on day one.

Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko previously stated that there would be upgrades placed onto the car between the two tests, and then again before the opening race this weekend.

This is due to the all-new technical regulations introduced this season, and the Austrian has already confirmed that everyone would want to finish the production of their challenger “as late as possible.”

They set 319 laps in Sakhir last week having introduced a significant upgrade on the final day which helped the Dutchman to set the fastest time of the test.

Verstappen said that he enjoyed a productive pre-season, but will not know of Red Bull’s pace until later on in the weekend.

“I do think testing did go well but we’re still a bit unclear of where we are exactly, but of course on the final day we had an upgrade on the car and that seemed to give us a bit more lap time so of course I was happy with that but it’s not the race weekend yet and we’ll find out in qualifying of course where we are,” he said in a press conference.

“[We are] of course trying to be ahead, but we’ll find out. I don’t know.”

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Verstappen snatched the championship on the final lap of the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix last year, while Mercedes retained the constructors’ title to claim their record eighth consecutive.