It was a difficult day for Red Bull Racing in the first two practice sessions for the Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlargos this weekend.
Rookie driver Alexander Albon set a 1:16.142 in the first session, topping the timing sheets, but crashing out before the end of the session. He was able to get back out on track in time for the second session, putting in a 1:10.275 to secure ninth place.
Today was ok. Free Practice 1 was tricky in the wet and obviously it wasn’t ideal crashing but it was quite a minor off,” said Albon.
“I just lost it on the brakes and it happened at the worst part of the track. The guys did a great job to get the car ready for Free Practice 2, and the car felt ok on the prime tyre. Then I switched to the option and got a flat spot so that was my session over really,” he said.
Despite his misfortune, the Thai-British driver is relatively happy with his performance, although unsure where could improve as he has not yet done a run which has been without incident.
“I think our performance looks quite good though and our race pace is strong so we can take positives from today, I just don’t know where I’m at because I haven’t had a clean session.
“This track is quite difficult, and with the weather and rivers on the circuit it’s not easy, but it’s fun and I’m enjoying driving it.”
His team-mate, Dutchman Max Verstappen did not fair as well as despite running three laps, did not set a time, which put him down at the back of the field. He had better luck in the second session, setting a 1:09.351 which put him third.
Verstappen admitted that his performance was not helped due to the inclement weather, as the track and air temperature was different compared to the rest of the weekend.
“It was a bit of a messy day because of the changing weather and I think the lap times are not really representative as the track and ambient temperatures are pretty different to what it looks like for tomorrow and Sunday,” said the 22-year-old.
He said he was encouraged that the car was working well at this stage in the weekend, but recognised it is possible to always make improvements.
“It’s positive that the car was straight away working well, there are of course always things you can improve but it was a good start and we have a good basis for tomorrow.”
The went on to say that he thinks it will be a close race between the top teams, but is not concerned about the weather conditions as he thinks they will be competitive regardless.
“The top three teams are all very close to each other so let’s see how everyone responds to the track and temperatures tomorrow.
“I also don’t mind whether the rest of the weekend is wet or dry as I think we can be competitive whatever the conditions,” he concluded.