Max Verstappen plays down early race wins in 2017

Max Verstappen poses for a photo on January 2, 2017
© SilverHub
Max Verstappen confirms expectations that Red Bull will touch down in Australia this week with several improvements for the 2017 car.

Max Verstappen has confirmed expectations that Red Bull will touch down in Australia this week with several improvements for the 2017 car.

The energy drink-owned team had a low-profile winter, obviously behind Mercedes and Ferrari but amid suggestions that Adrian Newey was planning a 'miracle upgrade' for Melbourne.

Asked how the Melbourne-spec car will differ, Verstappen told De Telegraaf newspaper just before leaving for Australia: "I can't say.

"But it looks better and hopefully it will be faster."

However, the 19-year-old is not confident he will have a pole and race-winning car this weekend.

"Personally, I don't think we can challenge for the victories at this stage. But we can still improve a lot during the season and we have started already," said Verstappen.

He admits that the big winter surprise was Ferrari's form, even though he is not sure the Italian team can challenge Mercedes for the title.

"But we can see they have made a big step forward and they will certainly fight for victories," said the Dutchman.

As for Mercedes, Verstappen told his website verstappen.nl: "They will always be there. They have probably done a little sandbagging, as always."

Verstappen finished 2016 in fifth place in the drivers' standings.

Dr Helmut Marko looks on in the garage during practice for the Austria Grand Prix at Red Bull Ring on June 19, 2015
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TeamPoints
1Ferrari102
2Mercedes99
3Red Bull47
4Force India17
5Williams-Mercedes16
6Toro Rosso12
7Haas8
8Renault2
9Sauber0
10McLaren0
DriversTeamPoints
1Sebastian VettelFerrari68
2Lewis HamiltonMercedes61
3Valtteri BottasMercedes38
4Kimi RaikkonenFerrari34
5Max VerstappenRed Bull25
6Daniel RicciardoRed Bull22
7Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes16
8Sergio PerezForce India14
9Carlos SainzToro Rosso10
10Kevin MagnussenHaas4
11Romain GrosjeanHaas4
12Esteban OconForce India3
13Nico HulkenbergRenault2
14Daniil KvyatToro Rosso2
15Fernando AlonsoMcLaren0
16Marcus EricssonSauber0
17Antonio GiovinazziSauber0
18Jolyon PalmerRenault0
19Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren0
20Pascal WehrleinSauber0
21Lance StrollWilliams-Mercedes0
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