Sergio Perez believes Red Bull’s RB16B has good potential after driving the 2021 car for the first time during a shakedown at Silverstone.

Red Bull has been testing at Silverst one this week, with Perez driving at two-year-old RB15 on Tuesday to get his first taste of one of the team’s cars before jumping behind the wheel of the latest offering on Wednesday. With the older car as a reference point, Perez says Wednesday’s running was a special day that showed him the progress that has been made with the new RB16B.

“So much to learn, so much to experience,” Perez said. “Just looking at my name on that car is something very special. Driving the new car, the car we’re going to drive this season, is always a very special for all the team. They’ve been working so hard throughout the year and through the winter so to finally go on track with that car is quite an emotional day. We were looking forward to it so much and I have to say that I can see the potential.

“I was extremely pleased to come from RB15, already have a reference of how a Red Bull car feels, and jump into my car – the car that I’m going to be driving this year. It’s incredible. Conditions were not great out there but it’s just nice to get a bit of comfortable feeling with the pedals, with the brakes, with all the new stuff that I’m going through, so pretty exciting.

“I think I can just feel a step in overall grip at all speeds. I could already feel that. I haven’t done a lot but I can already feel that the car has good potential.”

The main focus of the shakedown was to gather promotional filming and test Honda’s brand-new power unit, with the Japanese manufacturer bringing forward an upgrade that had originally been delayed until 2022 after announcing it would quit Formula 1 at the end of the year.

Max Verstappen also drove both the 2019 and new cars on Wednesday, with the Dutchman having the added experience of being able to compare to last year’s chassis that he won with in Abu Dhabi.

“Of course there are differences,” Verstappen said. “The big change is the floor — they cut it a lot on the rear so the car is always going to behave a bit differently. But it’s not about setup work or whatever, it’s about getting comfortable with the car, getting a basic understanding of the car, then all of the work has to be done in Bahrain.”