Max Verstappen was aiming for a good showing in his debut race for the Red Bull Racing team at the Albert Park Circuit over the weekend, however the young Dutchman actually finished the race in the exact same place he started it, 5th.
This is not like the Max Verstappen we saw through the 2016 sf1 season, the driver who charged at each and every car in front of him and passed them in some very unusual areas, but got the job done as he sliced his way through the field.
So what happened?
The new rules and regulations happened.
Designed at making the cars faster and more fun to drive, they left out one very vital element, making them easy to overtake.
"The start was really good but it was just a shame that out of turn one I had dirty air ahead of me, this allowed Kimi to stay on the outside and get in front of me again,” Max explained after the race. “It was hard to follow and drive close behind others, I think as soon as you get within two seconds you can really feel it and could destroy your tyres.”
However, the one thing Max was happy with was the overall pace from the Red Bull that allowed him to at least keep in touch with the Ferrari in front of him.
“From then on the pace wasn't too bad, I could follow him pretty well which was a nice surprise and I had no pressure from behind me. It was positive to see we weren't that far off Ferrari and Mercedes over a full race distance, this was a concern this morning but I'm relieved now to finish within touching distance.”
A lot of importance was also put on physical fitness for this season, the reason why Sauber’s Pascal Wehrlien dropped out on Saturday morning, however Max has revealed that physically, he was fine at the end of the 57 lap event.
“Physically I feel fine, you have to fight the cars a bit but to be honest I feel better than I did last year after race distance. The car behaved and handled quite a bit better than in qualifying. Looking ahead to China I think we need to keep working hard on the car, race pace was good but you can still see we are not quick enough in certain situations."