Max Verstappen: “This has been one of the strongest Fridays so far”

SUZUKA, JAPAN - OCTOBER 07: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (33) Red Bull Racing Red Bull-TAG Heuer RB12 TAG Heuer on track during practice for the Formula One Grand Prix of Japan at Suzuka Circuit on October 7, 2016 in Suzuka. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images). Credit: Red Bull Content Pool

Red Bull Racing driver Max Verstappen, was extremely pleased with the team’s performance on Friday in Japan, hailing it as one of the best days practice he’s had with the Milton Keynes based squad.

“I think this has been one of the strongest Fridays so far. Everything seemed to work quite well, car set-up was good and we looked quick on both tyres today, even on the Hard.”

The Dutchman finished fourth fastest in FP2, the meat in a Scuderia Ferrari sandwich, but did have his qualifying simulation runs compromised by a virtual safety car, so there is definitely more to come from the 19-year-old on that front.

“We were hampered by the Virtual Safety Car on our short runs so the tyres lost a bit of temperature, this meant we didn’t show our full potential.”

Following a brilliant one-two for Red Bull in Malaysia last time out, Verstappen is hoping for another strong showing in Japan, where he will no doubt be looking to take victory on this occasion.

Long run pace is again looking good for the Dutchman and the squad as a whole, which will give the team confidence that they can put the fight to the Mercedes AMG PETRONAS squad, and stay ahead of the Ferrari during the race on Sunday.

“After Malaysia we are looking for another good result, this track should suit us and we are close to the top guys at the moment.

“Ferrari are in the mix, short runs look ok but I’m not sure how their long ones are going, I’m hoping we can handle them though.”

Rain has been forecast for tomorrow and Sunday, and Verstappen feels that could very well give Red Bull the advantage, should the inclement weather arrive.

“There are talks of rain for later in the weekend which for us I think will play into our hands, we can’t be sure but if it comes I think we can be even stronger in qualifying and the race.”