Max Verstappen has revealed to suffering uncertainty over his F1 title credentials last season after the opening Bahrain Grand Prix as he felt the track may have flattered Red Bull.
Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton endured a season-long duel for the drivers' title that was resolved only on the final lap of the last race in Abu Dhabi in controversial style.
Tweaks to the regulations ahead of the campaign hindered cars running with a low-rake design such as Mercedes and Aston Martin while favouring those with a high rake such as Red Bull.
Despite this, Verstappen was not confident his strong performance across pre-season testing and in the Bahrain GP was an indicator for greater success.
"I had a good balance with the car and [I was] feeling very comfortable, and at the first race weekend, it looked good," said Verstappen, speaking towards the end of last season.
"But I was like, 'Maybe it's just the track' because throughout the season you have a few tracks where the car can be a bit better than others.
"What was very important from that point onwards was to be neutral, not to be too positive or too negative."
Asked at which point of the year he had started to believe a first title was possible, he replied: "It's difficult.
"I'd been in the lead, been second, been in the lead but there was never a point where I thought, 'Okay, we've got it in the bag' because every race I could either win or be second.
"It was all about the attention to detail where you could make a difference in terms of winning or being second."
Reflecting on the manner in which the battle was decided in Abu Dhabi, Verstappen said: "You cannot write it any better. It was insane."