Max Verstappen has started his season in the Australian GP with a brilliant podium celebration that made everyone who had doubts and distrust on the new allies with Honda was unfound. Red Bull have switched to Honda engines after its junior team's "Torro Roso" successful first campaign with the Japanese manufacturer in 2018.
The Dutchman was pleased being third behind both silver arrow cars to show that Red Bulls has a genuine pace and very close to Mercedes on pace in reality. They have proved something today in the inaugural race after it was very hard to read their real data in the winter pre-season testing. The 21-year-old pushed Lewis Hamilton hard and finished an astonishing 35 seconds ahead of the lead Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel who struggled had only scored fourth here as his Team principal Mattia Binotto said: "it wasn’t clear exactly what the problem was, but it was related to the balance setup."
However, Red Bull had never finished on the podium in Australia with Renault since Vettel’s third place in 2013 while Honda's last podium came in the sport back in 2008 with Rubens Barrichello in Silverstone.
"For Honda to have their first podium in the V6 era is a great start so congrats to them," said Verstappen.
"In terms of the speed we had throughout the race, it was a very good step forward from last year. Just compared to the top speeds compared to the other two top teams, so I'm very pleased with that.
"The engine has been performing very well without any issues so that's also really important," he added.
On the other side, Red Bull boss Christian Horner was surprised: "I think we've overperformed in the race."
"If you look at the speed trace it looks a different Red Bull than before. They are very fast on the straights and that's good to see. We want them in the mix and we want to have a great fight."
"If you look at the speed trace it looks a different Red Bull than before. They are very fast on the straights and that's good to see. We want them in the mix and we want to have a great fight." he added.
Not only Hornor was surprised, Toto Wolff, CEO of Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport said: “I felt that Honda has certainly made a huge step forward.“
“If you look at the speed trace, it looks a very different Red Bull than before. They’re very fast on the straights and that’s good to see.
“We want them in the mix and we want to have a big fight.
“Max was driving the car in a spectacular way again and really squeezed every tenth out of the car.
“If they are in the mix with Ferrari, and maybe some others, it’s just what the sport needs.
“We embrace the challenge.”
Anyway, what are the promises that Red Bull - Honda holds to their fans this year?