Max Verstappen hopes Red Bull close gap to Mercedes and Ferrari
Verstappen eyes Mercedes and Ferrari battles after difficult Bahrain GP; Watch the Chinese GP exclusively on Sky F1 from April 12-14
By Jonathan Green
Last Updated: 05/04/19 3:30pm
Max Verstappen hopes Red Bull's work since the Bahrain GP will enable them to close the gap to Mercedes and Ferrari at the Chinese GP.
After finishing on the podium in Australia, Red Bull were off the pace in the desert as they struggled to get their tyres 'in the right window' to work at their optimum.
Verstappen qualified on the third row in Bahrain, nearly a second off Charles Leclerc's pole effort, and felt fourth place was the most they deserved in the race, while Pierre Gasly qualified 13th and finished eighth.
Verstappen remained in Bahrain to drive, on the first day of the in-season test, topping the timesheets.
"We scored some good points and maximised the result in Bahrain but we still have a lot of things to learn about the car," Verstappen said.
"We've been busy back at the factory and hopefully we can close the gap in China.
"The Chinese Grand Prix is always a good one for racing because the track gives you a lot of opportunities for overtaking, so I'm looking forward to hopefully having an exciting race there."
Gasly has made a low-key start to his time at Red Bull after stepping up from Toro Rosso, but team principal Christian Horner said after Bahrain he was optimistic the Frenchman would gain confidence from picking up his first points for the team.
The 23-year-old is also hopeful of moving further forwards in Shanghai.
"Now we just need to keep the improvements we've made from one race to another and hopefully we'll be able to find some more performance and fight for even better points," Gasly said.
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"Looking back to Bahrain, it was not an easy weekend with the changing conditions but at the same time it was good to finish inside the points.
"Now we're just focusing on the areas we can improve on before next weekend."
The Chinese GP will be F1's 1,000th world championship grand prix, and it will also mark 10 years since Red Bull's first race victory.
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Sebastian Vettel led home team-mate Mark Webber that day, and the team have gone on to claim 59 race victories - including in China last year - and four constructors' and drivers' world titles.
Reflecting on that first win, Horner said: "It was a huge moment to look down and see the pride and emotion of the team, to see Helmut (Marko) almost crying, everyone looked so proud of what they'd achieved.
"Shanghai will always be a special place for Red Bull Racing because it was the scene of that first victory."
Watch the Chinese GP, F1's 1,000th race, live on Sky Sports F1 on April 12-14. Sky Sports is the home of live and exclusive F1. Find out more here to watch the 2019 season live