Max Verstappen says 2019 has been a vast improvement on 2018, despite the second half of the season falling short of expectations so far.
Verstappen and Red bull have struggled since returning from F1's summer break, with the Dutchman's distant third place in Singapore – a race they had targeted to potentially win – the team's only trip to the podium in four races.
In the four races prior to the break, Verstappen was arguably the form driver on the grid, having won in Austria and Germany, as well as falling just short of victory in Hungary and seeing a likely podium in Silverstone wrecked by Sebastian Vettel crashing into him.
However, with Red Bull negotiating a first season with Honda, and facing further headaches regarding to seat next to the seven-time F1 race-winner, Verstappen says the overall picture is good.
"I think the first part of the season went better than expected with those two wins," Verstappen told his official website.
"You'd think it would get even better in the second half of the season but it hasn't really happened for us thus far. The last couple of races weren't great but the start of the season was positive.
"I'm mainly happy that, generally speaking, we maximised our points compared to last year. In 2018 we left a lot of points on the table in the first six races. It's been a lot better this year."
Red Bull's ability to challenge in 2020 may rest with design chief Adrian Newey finding an edge over Ferrari and Mercedes, with the new aero regulations for 2019 having set the team back at the start of the year.
"I think he's involved a lot, especially with 2021. But the regulations are very limiting," Verstappen said of Newey.
"That's not ideal but compared to a few years ago, I think he's more involved."
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