Max Verstappen: “I am confident we will be in a good position”

by Paul Hensby

Max Verstappen knows there is work to be done overnight in order to close the gap to those ahead of Red Bull Racing at the Yas Marina Circuit as the Dutchman ended more than a second off the pace of Lewis Hamilton in Friday evening’s second Free Practice session.

Verstappen felt more comfortable in the earlier session under the sun, which was proven by him being up in third position, but when the lights came on he found himself down in sixth position, which did not please him as those will be more like the conditions that will present during Qualifying and the race.

“We tried a few different things today to see what suited the conditions,” said Verstappen. “I was pretty happy in the first practice but not so much in the second one.

“We know what was changed which resulted in me not being able to turn as well as I would have liked so we should be able to fix that for tomorrow.

“This track especially has a lot of corner sequences so we need to be able to get the turning of the car spot on to be able to compete. We need to improve the set-up but we still don’t look too far away so this is a positive to take from the day’s work.

“The track is pretty slippery, if you run off-line, clip some kerb or find a sandy patch it is easy to lose grip, I think that is why we have seen a few mistakes.”

Verstappen will be looking to improve on Saturday, thanks to the installation of a fresher power unit, and he hopes to be able to take the fight to the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team, who look to be the team to beat this weekend at the Yas Marina Circuit.

“The engine we had today was an old one, it is definitely not 100% so we will change that tomorrow to improve the power,” said Verstappen. “With a new engine and an improvement in the set-up I am confident we will be in a good position.

“Mercedes are still looking like the team to beat, as they have been all year so we will try to get as close as we can.”

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