Pierre Gasly says he intends to give new Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen the “hardest time” when they join forces next season.
The Frenchman will step up to the works outfit in 2019 following a successful first full campaign in Formula 1 with Toro Rosso in which he amassed 29 of the team’s 33 points.
Gasly will partner five-time grand prix winner Verstappen in place of the departing Daniel Ricciardo, making the partnership the youngest driver pairing on next year’s grid.
Although wary he faces an uphill climb to outperform his more experienced team-mate, Gasly insists his first focus will be on developing his driver credentials before his attention shifts to push the Dutchman hard.
“We will see how it goes against Max,” Gasly told Sky Sports News. “He is one of the most talented drivers at the moment, it’s always good to be next to a competitive guy, and I’ll give him the hardest time I can and then try to develop as much as possible as a driver. We’ll see the result I get next year.
“I’m still only going to be in my second season of Formula 1 so there are still a lot of things to learn and I still need to develop myself.
“But I know I’m quick, I need to make the best out of my skills and my qualities, but also work on all the areas I can improve.”
The arrival of new engine supplier Honda has high expectations, with Red Bull pinning its hopes on the Japanese manufacturer delivering a race-winning power unit.
Having already spent a year working with Honda’s engineers, the work behind closed doors has convinced Gasly the relationship has every chance of being successful.
Asked if Honda will be closer to matching the power output of Mercedes and Ferrari next year, Gasly replied: “Pretty close. I really believe in this project and I can see how much work and dedication they are putting [in]. I’m sure they are going to close it at some point.
“We just need to give them time but I’m sure with the experience of Red Bull, mixing these two really strong companies, they will come up with something really exciting for next year.”