'Low-key' Verstappen hoping Red Bull can challenge Mercedes in 2021

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Max Verstappen is remaining "low-key" about Red Bull's RB16B even as he hopes it will close the gap to Mercedes.

Last week, the Dutchman and new teammate Sergio Perez got their first taste of the new car in a secretive shakedown at Silverstone.

The lack of images released afterwards has led to suggestions that Red Bull might be trying to hide details of their updated 2020 design, at least until testing.

But Verstappen is playing down that hype.

"We need to wait and see what's happening in Bahrain once we have proper tyres under the car," he said.

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"I just wanted to get the car out and run, do our 100km, then everyone has their data, and I got back into a Formula 1 car.

"When we move to Bahrain, the real work of course to try and find the optimum set-up on the car is happening with proper tyres, because these demo tyres, you can't really read anything."

Last year's Red Bull disappointed many as the gains in performance paled in comparison to those made by the Brackley-based squad.

And asked where this year's car needed to be better, Verstappen admitted it was across the board.

"More grip, more power," he said. "People always talked about the rear-end being so twitchy, I think it's just general grip we were lacking a bit.

"Also, we were a bit down on power. We know that, there's no secret behind it, you can see it.

"So we worked a lot with Honda throughout the winter. It's all looking promising but it doesn't make sense now to hype it all up. I want to stay low-key and focus on our job. We should do the talking on the track, not next to the track.

"I am always very realistic and it makes no sense to talk about stuff now. We have to go to Bahrain and look at it there, at the first race, and see if we succeeded or not.

"We know where we want to be and where we want to get to and that's what we now need to try and realise."

Verstappen though does believe Red Bull can benefit from having continued development of last year's car right up until the end of the season, unlike their rival.

"Mercedes stopped developing that car from whenever, June or July, because you couldn't really see a lot of updates, we just kept learning and we know we had a few issues with that car and we wanted to improve," he explained.

"Also knowing the regulations wouldn't change that much - obviously the floor changed a bit but in general the car stayed very much the same.

"For us, it was important to get on top of that and let's see this year if we improved it even more and we are even better and hopefully we can be more competitive compared to Mercedes."