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SA racing legend Gugu Zulu would have turned 41 today

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Dr Helmut Marko thinks Red Bull-Honda can be 'at the front'

2019-02-14 12:07

Image: AFP

Recently, former Formula 1 driver Robert Doornbos said he would be watching Max Verstappen's face after he steps out of the 2019 Red Bull-Honda for the first time.

"Max will know immediately how successful the new car can be. So I'll be curious to see his face after a couple of laps behind the wheel," said Verstappen's Dutch countryman.

'I was smiling'

Those first laps in the newly Honda-powered Red Bull took place at a cold Silverstone circuit on Wednesday.

READ: 'Max Verstappen won't hide his 2019 chances' - Robert Doornbos

"After the first few laps I was smiling. I liked the behaviour of the car and the new Honda engine," Verstappen revealed.

Indeed, the early approval from the mercurial 21-year-old is a positive sign, as are the first comments made by his equally mercurial boss Dr Helmut Marko.

"The Honda engine already had more power than Renault at the end of last season. And now they have improved it even more over the winter," he said.

'The car ran perfectly'

It is a bold prediction from Marko, but he said the team can also always rely on the car-designing skills of Adrian Newey.

"It's a typical Newey car, but with everything having been done with Honda in mind," he told Auto Bild.

"The car ran perfectly right from the beginning of the shakedown," Marko revealed.

"The numbers that we see are very positive. As for power, for the first time we can say that we have a 'party mode'.

"Hopefully it should be enough for us to drive at the front on our own," he continued.

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