Red Bull praise Honda after mammoth 471 laps during first F1 test

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Both Red Bull drivers have praised Honda after a near-flawless first week of testing in Barcelona.

Across the three days, the Milton Keynes outfit amassed an incredible 471 laps, putting them second only to Mercedes for the most covered.

And while there was a precautionary engine change on Thursday, Alex Albon admits that figure was actually expected by Red Bull.

"To be honest, yeah. We did a lot of work over the winter and we wanted to come in with a lot of laps and get a good baseline for the championship," he explained on Friday.

"I think pretty much everything went to plan. It just shows how much work goes on behind the scenes. It’s really impressive from the guys at Milton Keynes, as well as Honda, to have such a reliable car."

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As for the performance of the RB16, though it is yet to emerge as a genuine threat to Mercedes, who led two of the three days, the signs are positive.

"I think it’s a step in the right direction," Albon stated. "With all cars, there’s a bit of fine-tuning to be done to it, but as a baseline, it felt better in the first five laps than yesterday. So yeah, it’s a step forward.

"Max’s and my comments are very similar. We’ve both went into the same idea of what we wanted over winter and it’s in line with both of us, not just me."

As for Verstappen, though he admits he's yet to push the RB16, he too was happy with the work done over the first three days.

"It's all about collecting laps, collecting data and testing out the reliability as well," he told Formula1.com.

"So far I'm happy, there's still of a lot of things to learn on the car and we've just got to continue that next week."

The Dutchman is also pleased by Honda, who he believes can deliver the gains they promised this season.

"They are pushing flat out," he stated. "Of course, you always want improvements but improvements definitely have been made compared to last year as well.

"What I like is that what they show, what they project, always happens, so I'm very confident it will be the same this year again.

"Everything is heading in the right direction, but the others will also be pushing flat out so we just have to try and work harder."

While the performance of the Japanese manufacturer is now somewhat in line with Mercedes and Ferrari, the big question mark is reliability and whether Red Bull can stay within the allotted allocation of components.

"Last year we only took engines because they had performance upgrades, and quite big ones, so that was the reason to take those engines," Verstappen explained.

"Of course, this year we will try not to take any penalties, but things are running very smooth and that's all we can do.

"In terms of mileage, it's all going well. Throughout the winter we've been looking to make it through those seven weekends.

"So far we've not run full power modes, but it's all running smoothly, and that's exactly what you want."

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