Max Verstappen says Red Bull still have pace in hand with their updated RB18, after finishing pre-season testing almost a second clear at the top of the timesheets.
Red Bull rolled out a heavily revised version of their 2022 car for Saturday's track action in Bahrain, with Sergio Perez going on to top the morning session before Verstappen led the way in the afternoon.
Verstappen's benchmark of 1:31.720 on the Soft C5 tyre put him three-quarters of a second clear of Ferrari's Charles Leclerc, who used the Soft C4 rubber.
While fuel loads and precise run plans are unclear at this stage, Verstappen had plenty of positive words to say about Red Bull's pre-season preparations - and the revised RB18 - as the test came to a close.
"The car felt good, also in terms of balance – the latter is very important," Verstappen told his official website after Saturday's running.
"We were able to finish our test programme, which is always positive.
"The new parts we had on the car today worked well, as hoped. We learned a lot about the car [during] these days and made it faster – exactly what our goal was."
Viewed by others:
More to come from Red Bull at the F1 season opener
Amid plenty of speculation as to which teams have got things right under F1's new regulations, Verstappen made clear that Red Bull can still go faster.
"Going faster each time is the natural progression throughout the day, also because we are trying out different tyres with a view to the Grand Prix next week," said Verstappen, having prompted cheers in the Red Bull garage with his late-day improvements.
"Nobody has shown the back of their tongue yet, including us."
Looking to the campaign ahead, Verstappen said: "I think this season is not necessarily about how you stand in the first three races, but how quickly you can develop.
"Everything is new and there is a lot to learn about the car, so we have to keep getting faster during the season and keep making progress."
Earlier in the day, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner picked out Ferrari and Mclaren as strong competitors, while also tipping Mercedes to up their pace at next weekend's season opener.
Video: Verstappen signs Red Bull contract extension until end of 2028
Max Verstappen and Christian Horner open up about Verstappen's new deal to stay with Red Bull until the end of 2028.