Max Verstappen has praised Honda for delivering a power unit this season that has thrust him and Red Bull firmly into contention for this year's Formula 1 titles.
While the RB16B is a 60% carryover from last year's RB16 and changes have been made to the car in line with this year's aerodynamic regulations, one of the key areas of improvement is with regard to the Honda engine.
The Japanese manufacturer may be leaving the sport at the end of this year but it is determined to do so on a high and has left no stone unturned in its bid to help Red Bull overthrow Mercedes.
Assessing whether Honda's effort is the most impressive he has seen from them so far in its three-year association with the team, Verstappen replied: "Yeah, I think you can say that.
"That doesn’t mean, of course, that the previous years were less than impressive. I think their turnaround has been very good and their understanding of the engine is impressive.
"It’s really enjoyable to work with them as well. They’re really passionate and emotional, which I like and yeah, they are just flat out all the time. They want to win and you can really see that."
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff believes the Honda PU has now overtaken the Mercedes system that has long been the dominant force in F1.
Whilst the Bahrain circuit has only provided an early glimpse into what might be to come for the rest of this year, the fact that Verstappen beat Hamilton to pole by almost four-tenths of a second was significant.
“I think we're losing on the high speed [corners],” said Wolff. “We can clearly see there's a deficit.
“We're losing a little bit on the engine side in terms of derate. We are not yet in a happy place with our energy recovery. But it's not one single point where we can say this is a big gap.”
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