Red Bull Racing driver’s Max Verstappen and Pierre Gasly suffered contrasting opening days at Silverstone – with Gasly relieved to have his “best Friday of the season”, while Verstappen was plagued with arguably his worst.
Free Practice one proved fruitful for the Milton Keynes squad, with Gasly topping the session in a surprise relief from his early season struggles. Moreover, Verstappen impressed, finishing the session in third.
However, Free Practice two contrasted this for Red Bull, the Frenchman was fifth, while the Austrian Grand Prix winner was relegated to a lowly seventh.
Despite slipping back as Friday went on, Gasly was jovial after besting his teammate in both of Friday’s sessions after making a litany of changes following being lapped by his teammate in Spielberg.
“I’m happy because it was a really good day on our side and the best Friday of the season. We made some changes after Austria and we have a good plan on how I can improve things. There are still a few improvements I can make and my lap wasn’t perfect in FP2 so I can still extract a bit more, but overall I’m happy,” said Gasly.
However, the Frenchman refused to get carried away despite a strong opening day at Silverstone.
“It’s only Friday so we won’t get excited but we need to keep going in this direction. It will be important not to make any mistakes and perform tomorrow when it’s important, but the feeling I have today is a lot better.”
This contrasted heavily with his teammate, Verstappen. The Dutchman suffered a torrid opening day, arguably his worst of the season and found himself behind the McLaren of Lando Norris as he struggled in the gusty conditions.
“From my side, today was not so good and I didn’t find a good balance with the car in Free Practice 1 or Free Practice 2. I was sliding around a lot in the wind and struggling for rear grip, so we have a bit of work to do. Even though I’m not fully comfortable yet we’re not that far away and the times are pretty close which is a positive,” said Verstappen.
Gasly also had time to show some empathy towards Verstappen’s struggles, admitting that the gusty conditions made the circuit extremely difficult through the high-speed corners this circuit is so famous for.
“This is a high-speed track and with the wind today it made the conditions super tricky as the balance changes from one corner to another, but this is the same for everybody,” stated Gasly
In spite of his struggles, Verstappen still remained optimistic of a strong result at Silverstone, as he expects tyres to be king this weekend – due to the high-speed nature of the circuits most famous corners such as Copse, Stowe, Maggots, and Becketts.
It’s not very easy on tyres here with the high energy corners so it will be interesting to see what choices everyone makes tomorrow and in the race. It’s promising that we are still quite close to Mercedes and Ferrari so there is still a lot of potential for the weekend, ” said Verstappen.
The 21-year old also praised Silverstone’s new track surface, dubbing it a good change.
Verstappen stated, “There is a lot more grip with the new tarmac which all drivers like. In general, the new surface is quite a good change but there are some pretty bumpy sections out there, especially going into Turn 6 and Turn 9.”