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Verstappen not distracted by “favorite” tag ahead of Bahrain

Max Verstappen of Netherlands and Red Bull Racing and team mate Sergio Perez of Mexico and Red Bull Racing talk on the grid during Day One of F1 Testing at Bahrain International Circuit on March 12, 2021 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Dan Istitene – Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

Max Verstappen is not distracted by Red Bull’s “favorites” tag, saying it “doesn’t matter”, and the only thing that does is performance.

After a difficult pre-season testing period for Mercedes, and with Red Bull topping most of the sessions, the Formula 1 community and the media have pointed towards Red Bull as the favorites. But Verstappen says that the definition “doesn’t matter,” as the only thing that’s important in the sport is performance.

“It’s just because it doesn’t matter,” Verstappen said. “What matters is that you perform on track when it counts and when you can score the points. I think you just have to focus on your job and just stay calm, stay focused, because it just distracts you.”

Verstappen also talked about his new teammate, Sergio Pérez, saying that the pairing is already working well together.

“I’ve known Checo [Pérez] now for many years here in the paddock, and of course now that we are team mate, you get a bit more of an insight into how Checo is working,” the Dutchman said. “I think everything so far is running very smooth and the feedback – we’re both heading in the same direction. At least I hope is the right direction!

“I think the most important thing to feel [in testing] was that the car is quite predictable, even with the changes in the wind direction and temperature, so that felt good,” he said about the RB16B. “I just hope that as a team now, we can really score a good amount of points and really put the pressure on Mercedes every single race weekend.”

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