Max Verstappen admits he always enjoys racing under lights, and this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix will offer the first of three consecutive races to be held at night.
The Aston Martin Red Bull Racing driver still has eyes on beating Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team’s Valtteri Bottas to second place in the Drivers’ Championship, and he knows he will need a good set-up to be in with a fight this weekend at the Bahrain International Circuit.
“I always enjoy the night races as they have such a different feel and I think it is good to have it at the end of the year as it is a nice change,” said Verstappen. “For the first race, it is a track we know very well but it is always tough on tyres so it will be important to find a good set-up to work around that.”
Two weeks ago, in the Turkish Grand Prix, Verstappen was looking like the favourite for victory, but a couple of spins and an inability to maintain life in his rear tyres meant he fell down to sixth. However, he does not expect the same kind of tricky conditions to materialise again, and he was able to outscore Bottas, who failed to break into the top ten after a tough race of his own.
“Although the track conditions were very tricky on Friday I was pleased with the balance we found and the car was working well,” said the Dutchman. “We felt we had good momentum for the weekend so it was obviously disappointing for everyone in the Team to finish sixth in the race as it was not where we hoped or expected to be.
“We had some issues and also seemed to eat up the rear tyres quicker than others. It is not only me but everyone in the Team who left Turkey disappointed but that is because we all want to win. We always look forward as you cannot change what happened at the last race.
“I do not expect that we will see these type of track conditions again though so the last races will probably be more straight forward.”
“On my side things have been getting better” – Alexander Albon
Team-mate Alexander Albon arrives in Bahrain with confidence after a strong performance in Turkey, although his chances of a podium or even a maiden win disappeared with a spin, a drop in tyre performance and a pit stop that relegated him to seventh at the chequered flag.
Albon admitted there was a lot of frustration to only finish seventh two weeks ago, but there were many positives to take from the weekend in Turkey, and he hopes that he can have another strong weekend this time around as he bids to secure his seat with Red Bull into 2021.
“Turkey was a strong weekend and I’m confident we’re headed in the right direction,” said Albon. “On my side things have been getting better and I was happy with the car on the simulator so now I’m looking forward to arriving in Bahrain and seeing what we’ve got.
“It was a good weekend for me and we tried some things on my car which we think made it more predictable. As a Team we were also very strong and considering how well we started the weekend it is a little frustrating to come away with so little but there are a lot of positives to take from Turkey.”