Shakedown run with RB15 put a smile on Verstappen's face


Max Verstappen said he was "smiling" after testing his new Red Bull at Silverstone on Wednesday as he plots a way to dethrone world champion Lewis Hamilton.

Red Bull finished third in the constructors' championship behind Mercedes and Ferrari a year ago, but despite the change in engine supplier and the potential disruption that could bring, team boss Christian Horner is confident the team can challenge for victories more often.

Honda is hoping to profit from retaining the same power unit concept for a third straight season - the first time it has done so in the hybrid era, having abandoned its 2015/16 layout for its 2017 campaign with McLaren.

Verstappen, who shared the victories with Australian Daniel Ricciardo last season, has a new teammate for 2019 in Frenchman Pierre Gasly.

Verstappen will get the first proper taste of his new Red Bull during next week's first pre-season test at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya.

In a short video posted on Twitter, Verstappen offered a positive assessment of his initial run on board the new vehicle.

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As has become tradition for the Austrian team, the RB15 made its first appearance clad in a stunning one-off launch livery, a stealthy-looking dark blue colour scheme lit with glowing red chevrons.

"I was really excited to jump in the auto and as soon as we got going it felt pretty normal", he said. "I really want to feel how it upshifts, downshifts, how the driveability is, how much power there is".

Verstappen has won five races in the two and a half years he's spent at Red Bull Racing.

"With Honda, we're expecting a lot, we're all very positive but I think it also needs to take a little bit of time, it can not be from race one it will be flawless".

"What is very important is the team and Honda are pushing really hard to improve the development".

What do you make of the new Red Bull challenger and do you think Honda will help them scale new heights this season? "Time will tell how we're going to perform".