Red Bull Racing suffered no problems on Friday for this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, as the Milton Keynes-based outfit look to end their first season under engine partners Honda on a high note.
Max Verstappen was second fastest in Free Practice 1 and half a second off Valtteri Bottas‘ time. The Dutchman would end the second session in fifth but remained at a similar gap to the quickest time of all to keep himself in contention come qualifying.
The Dutchman had felt there was “no real surprises” with his running and got to grips with the soft compound in particular that helped him clock up his times.
“Overall, it was a pretty decent Friday. I’m not entirely happy with the balance yet and there are of course still some things we need to look at and do better but overall I’m pretty pleased,” Verstappen shared.
“Mercedes look very strong here again and will be hard to beat but I still think it will be close tomorrow. We will analyse the tyre data later today but overall there are no real surprises. The soft is quick over one lap and on race runs it drops off as expected.”
Alexander Albon completed fifty-three laps throughout the three hours of running, one more than his more-experienced team-mate. The Thai driver finished the first session in fourth before concluding the evening in sixth when all the drivers set their fastest times on the soft compound.
Albon aims to find more time between now and qualifying to put himself in a strong position to challenge Mercedes-AMG Motorsport and Scuderia Ferrari in the race.
“It was tricky out there but overall today was good and we’re getting there,” Albon said.
“It’s difficult to get the tyres working and there’s quite a lot of dust down so that’s why we saw a lot of cars spinning. The balance was ok and we know we need to improve a little bit here and there but Max looked quick so let’s see how things go tomorrow.
“I think I’ve got a little bit of fine tuning to do on my side, especially in sector three, but we’re chipping away. The Ferraris will of course be quick in qualifying but let’s see where we are come qualifying.”