RB16 'definitely an improvement' but Verstappen isn't getting excited yet

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Noises from Red Bull are getting more optimistic after Max Verstappen described the RB16 as "definitely an improvement".

The Dutchman completed a solid 83 laps on the first day of the second test in Barcelona, also finishing quickest of the afternoon drivers in second overall.

And as he gets more and more acquainted with this 2020 ride, Verstappen does see a notable improvement from its predecessor.

“This year the car is definitely an improvement, and it also has to be if you want to fight for the championship,” he said via Crash.net.

“It needs to be both [good in race and qualifying]. Even last year sometimes we had a decent race car, sometimes qualifying was okay but I think overall we need to step up, and we are working on that."

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But while Verstappen is certainly sounding encouraged, he doesn't want to declare the Red Bull a Mercedes beater yet.

"You do push it with whatever on the car, which feels alright for the moment,” he added.

“But it is difficult to say anything about it because you don’t know if it is going to be quick enough, and at the end of the day, you don’t look at it yet, because it is just testing and a different track to where the first race is.

"So what is most important is that you just try a lot of things, and you know what the car is reacting to, so when you go to Melbourne you know a little bit if you have oversteer or understeer what direction you have to go into.

“We just focus on ourselves, and then will find out in Melbourne where we are.”

The day wasn't totally plain-sailing, however, with teammate Alex Albon losing most of the morning to what he described as a suspension issue, though wouldn't confirm if it was linked to a new double-bulkhead seen at the front of the Red Bull.

Albon though was still able to end the day with the sixth-best time.

“It is frustrating but I think we did so many laps already last week that we haven’t fallen behind our plan," he commented.

“I think everything isn’t too bad even though we only did a few laps. The car was feeling pretty good, already feeling better than it was last week.”