Verstappen pleased with testing pace, new upgrades


Max Verstappen enjoyed yet another successful day behind the wheel of the Toro Rosso STR10 as his Formula 1 debut draws near.

The 17-year-old will become the youngest driver in the history of F1 to start a grand prix in Australia on March 15, making any extra mileage and experience that he can pick up in pre-season valuable.

Although he only finished seventh in the final standings with a fastest lap of 1:26.766, Verstappen was pleased with what he accomplished on Friday as the new upgrades on the car worked well.

“Another good day as we did a lot of laps,” Verstappen said. “From my perspective, the most important part was this afternoon’s race distance, when the pace looked very promising.

“It was my first time driving the car with the latest updates and they seemed to be working very well and I felt very comfortable with it.

“On Sunday, I get my last chance to drive before Melbourne, so it will be important to get in as many miles as possible, try to improve the car and increase our understanding of the overall package.”

Verstappen managed to complete 139 laps on Friday, but had his running cut short by an electrical problem on the car.

“We can be pleased with what we achieved today, even if we had to stop running with around an hour to go due to an electrical problem,” chief race engineer Phil Charles explained.

“In the morning, we continued the programme we began yesterday, acquiring useful data relating to the new aero package, with plenty of in and out laps. Towards the end of the morning, we did some decent running, looking at chassis work.

“Then, after the lunch break, Max set off to do a race distance, until towards the end of the run, the car stopped. Nevertheless, another day with plenty of laps to learn from.”