Red Bull Racing driver Max Verstappen says the team are about where he thought they would be after the first two Friday practice sessions in Australia.
The Dutchman got off to a relatively decent start during the morning session, finishing fourth fastest just behind team-mate Daniel Ricciardo, but crucially ahead of the two Scuderia Ferrari drivers, albeit a second down on FP1 leader Lewis Hamilton.
The 19-year-old says you can definitely feel the extra speed this year owing to the regulation changes, and he expects times to get a lot quicker tomorrow.
“Today was about trying to find and improve the balance of the car after getting out on track for the first Friday practice of the year. We are about where I expected us to be, we have some work to do overnight to make sure we are in a good position for tomorrow and can get the best out of the car.
“It was nice to try the RB13 for the first time here at Albert Park, it definitely felt faster and a bit more enjoyable through the corners, being a street circuit it will improve by qualifying quite a lot which means more fun for us.”
FP2 was a bit more of a learning curve for Verstappen however, when he carried too much speed into turn twelve and ran wide onto the gravel, sustaining damage to the floor of the RB13 in the process. That off then saw the Dutchman resigned to the garage for a fair chunk of the afternoon session, seeing him miss out on around forty minutes of track action.
“I ran wide and ended up on the grass which unfortunately damaged the floor and cut short the second session for me.”
With the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team looking quick at the top of the times, the 19-year-old is aware Red Bull need to make some changes ahead of tomorrow’s running, if they are to challenge Hamilton for pole, as well as ensuring they get ahead of the two Ferrari’s.
Verstappen is confident they can do that, and is hoping he can capitalise at the start of the race on Sunday, so that if he cannot win it on outright pace, he can certainly make things more difficult for anyone trying to come through from behind him.
“Mercedes seem quick once again so they are the target to beat but we must also do some work overnight to be ahead of Ferrari who also look strong.
“Hopefully we will have a good start on Sunday, then we are at the front and can make it hard to overtake.”