Max Verstappen was unable to emulate the success of his team-mate, Daniel Ricciardo in Free Practice One and Two, and instead had to settle for fourth and sixth quickest respectively.
This season, the young Dutchman has typically been the faster driver of the two Red Bull Racing drivers over a single lap, but today seemed to be lagging behind Ricciardo. Both drivers went into the weekend with a new upgrade on the car, but Verstappen was unable to capitalise upon his.
Reportedly, Verstappen struggled with the balance of his car throughout free practice one and into free practice two, shedding light on why he was off Ricciardo’s pace.
“From my side in the beginning it was a bit difficult today and I was struggling with the balance,” commented Verstappen. “We changed quite a lot of things on the car and by the end of the second practice it was actually feeling quite ok. On the Supersoft tyre it was all coming together but I struggled to get a clean lap because of the red and yellow flags.”
“I went out again when everyone was doing long runs and the sector times were fine so we are up there and it’s looking good. I’m finally feeling good in the car at the end of a practice session so I think we can work from here.”
Even with the upgrade and the promising performance from Ricciardo throughout the day, Verstappen is under no illusions that the team have suddenly leapfrogged the leading teams of Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team and Scuderia Ferrari, and knows that Mercedes will likely turn up their engines for qualifying. Nevertheless, there are positives to be taken from the pace displayed today, making the race on Sunday an exciting prospect. In qualifying Mercedes
“In qualifying Mercedes will of course turn up the power so I think we still need to find a bit of pace to really fight them, but it’s all looking a lot better than previous races.”