Max Verstappen says he is “still guessing” how to set up his Red Bull Formula 1 car and is relying on teammate Daniel Ricciardo while he builds experience with the team.
Verstappen became the youngest winner in F1 history on his Red Bull debut, after swapping his Toro Rosso seat with Daniil Kvyat for the Spanish Grand Prix, but then endured a difficult weekend in Monaco last time out, where he crashed out of qualifying and the race. He has been outpaced at both events by new teammate Ricciardo, who took pole in Monaco and would likely have won that race without a mistake by Red Bull at his second pit stop.
Verstappen’s lack of experience overall, and particularly with his new team, means he is relying on Ricciardo’s help to find the best way to set up the RB12.
Asked whether he is leaning on Ricciardo for this, Verstappen replied: “Definitely. He has a lot of experience.
“You try to see what they [the teammate] are doing because I still don’t have an idea of which direction to go in, because I’ve never driven the car here [in Canada], for example. You rely on the data from last year, but you were not in the car so it’s a bit different.”
Verstappen reckons he will not feel fully confident until he has built up a season’s worth of fresh experience with Red Bull at every circuit on the calendar.
“It’s just getting used to the car and how to set it up,” he said. “It’s mainly just the experiences you don’t have.
“With Toro Rosso, I had the experiences from last year and you know a bit more of which direction you have to go in. Here [with Red Bull], first of all you have to set the car up completely differently, because it’s a completely different car, so I’m still guessing a bit and following directions.
“It takes a year to get around everywhere. You just need to build up your experience with the new car.”