Max Verstappen said driving around for most of Friday afternoon’s free practice session at the Red Bull Ring was not ideal, and overall he felt his day on track in Austria was ‘average’.
The Aston Martin Red Bull Racing driver had finished third fastest in the morning session behind Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas but dropped to fifth in the afternoon, but felt the damage caused to the car by the kerbs compromised his session, leaving him feeling a little deflated at the end of the day.
“Today was a bit average,” said Verstappen. “I sustained a bit of damage to the floor in FP2, running most of the session with that wasn’t ideal.
“I think it was sustained from vibration from the inside kerbs, not the big sausage ones. This compromised the feel of the car so resulted in a bit of a flat day.”
Part of Red Bull’s strengths is their cornering speeds, but Verstappen feels work needs to be done in that area ahead of Saturday’s running, particularly as they are likely to be suffering a pace deficit in the straights.
“We need to work on the set-up as I feel we lacked a bit of speed through the corners, we know we are down on the straights so we need to make up for it where we can,” said the Dutchman. “This may have been a result of the balance not feeling quite right, we will look into the data this evening because at the moment I am not overly happy.
“The addition of a third DRS zone should help us come race day so if I can get the car where I want it then we should have fun. If the feeling is there with the car I think the tyres will work and everything should come easier.”
The afternoon session was red-flagged when Pierre Gasly ran over the kerbs at turn nine and broke his suspension, and Verstappen says it will be important to steer clear of them throughout the weekend.
“The kerbs are quite aggressive, but they have been like that for the last few years so it’s not a surprise, they are the same for everyone so you need to avoid them,” said Verstappen.
“Of course they can damage the front wing but if a wall was there you would be in it, so you need to stay off them.”