Formula 1

Max Verstappen: “We’ll see what we can do to get more pace out of the car overnight”

2 Mins read
Credit: Lars Baron/Getty Images

Max Verstappen says Red Bull Racing will need to look at getting more heat into the Pirelli tyres before Qualifying at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit after struggling with them during Friday’s two free practice sessions.

The current World Championship leader – who can clinch the title this weekend if he outscores Lewis Hamilton by at least eighteen points – was second fastest behind his title rival in the first session in Saudi Arabia, while he ended only fourth in the evening’s running.

Verstappen says the team will need to unlock more pace from the car if they want to challenge for the front row in Saudi Arabia, but he is confident he can be at the sharp end of the grid if he can avoid any issues with traffic.

“Overall, it’s a really cool track, there are a lot of fast corners and it’s fun to drive,” said Verstappen.  “We struggled to get heat into the tyres in FP2, which we will of course look into.

“Then we made a few changes from FP1 to FP2 which didn’t quite work but hopefully we can find the right balance come qualifying tomorrow. There are of course a lot of things to work on and improve so we’ll see what we can do to get more pace out of the car overnight.

“Looking ahead to qualifying, I think it might be quite difficult with the traffic but in general it’s hard to tell how Saturday is going to go as anything can happen but we’ll push hard and give it everything.”

“I don’t think my time on the soft tyres was reflective” – Sergio Pérez

Team-mate Sergio Pérez did not have the same kind of pace in his Red Bull, but the Mexican does not feel his times reflect the performance he will be able to show across the rest of the weekend.

Like many other drivers, Pérez felt positive about the way the Jeddah Corniche Circuit felt to drive, but he ended only eleventh fastest in the afternoon session and ninth in the evening’s running.

However, Pérez hopes to be in a good position to be able to help Verstappen on Sunday, although he is predicting a tricky qualifying session on Saturday, particularly when it comes to managing the traffic, especially in the final sector.

“It was a lot of fun out there today, it’s a really nice circuit, it is very fast and enjoyable to drive,” said Pérez.  “It is going to be tricky in qualifying with traffic management, we saw that a bit when everyone was on the soft tyre at the end of FP2.

“I think it will be an interesting race because this track is challenging, if you make a mistake it can be extremely costly. In qualifying it will all be about trying to be in the right place at the right time. On the long runs we didn’t have enough laps to get a real read on how we will perform so I don’t think my time on the soft tyres was reflective on where we actually are.

“I think there is plenty more to come from the car, so hopefully we can find the right balance and pace to be in contention in qualifying. It is going to be hard to achieve the perfect lap out there but we also have a long race ahead of us on Sunday and anything can happen. We just have to stay up there and be on it as much as possible.”

Sergio Pérez says there is plenty of pace to show after a difficult Friday in Saudi Arabia – Credit: Dan Mullan/Getty Images
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Thirty-something motorsport fanatic, covering Formula 1, Formula Renault 2.0 and Formula 3. Feel free to give him a follow on Twitter at @Paul11MSport.
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