Max Verstappen felt the long run pace of his Red Bull Racing RB12 was positive after finishing inside the top five in both free practice sessions at the Circuit of the Americas on Friday.
The teenage Dutchman ended the opening session third fastest behind the two Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, but dropped to fifth in the afternoon as the team tried a different set-up on his car, seven-tenths slower than team-mate Daniel Ricciardo.
Verstappen believes he has a good handle on the long run pace, but still needs to work on the short runs that will benefit him during Saturday’s qualifying session.
“We tried some different set-ups from FP1 and FP2 to try and find a strong feeling with the car,” admitted Verstappen. “In the end we found a good one for the long runs on soft tyres but we still need to improve the short run pace.
“I’m quite confident we can do that tomorrow. We got some good data from the short runs but struggled to find a clean lap. We changed the set-up during FP2 in order to improve some issues, which is why my car was worked on for a while.
“The Supersoft seemed to lose grip every lap and get slower, so I think for the race it will be interesting. The long run pace seemed good, I had a Ferrari in front of me and I was catching it so I think that is a positive sign.”