Max Verstappen has revealed that he is feeling increasingly confident and comfortable behind the wheel of the Toro Rosso STR10 ahead of his full F1 debut at next month’s Australian Grand Prix.
Verstappen, 17, is set to become the youngest driver in the history of F1 to start a race, smashing the existing record held by former Toro Rosso driver Jaime Alguersuari.
His move into F1 after just one year in single seaters sparked concern in the sport’s community, prompting a raft of new requirements to race from the FIA.
As of 2016, drivers will have to be at least 18 years of age when making their debut and hold a valid driver’s license in their home country.
In Barcelona today though, Verstappen enjoyed a very successful day, finishing second on the timesheets after leading for most of the day and completing 129 laps.
“A good session and the first time I’ve done over a hundred laps in a single day,” Verstappen said. “We got through a lot of items on the job sheet, with some faster runs in the morning. The car felt really good and it seems we are improving the car step by step.
“Compared to after the first test in Jerez, I feel more confident and more comfortable with the car, as I start to learn about every aspect of the job. Now, I’m really looking forward to seeing what the engineers can come up with for the final test here next week.”
Verstappen’s day came to an early end due to a clutch problem, forcing him to park his car up at the side of the track with 20 minutes remaining in the day.
“He had plenty of pit stop practice and that’s what caused him to stop just before the end of the day, as the clutch had had enough,” Toro Rosso chief race engineer Phil Charles explained. “It was a case of having worn the car out with all that work rather than a technical problem.”
Carlos Sainz Jr. will take up the reins of the STR10 for the final day of the second pre-season test in Barcelona tomorrow.