It was a solid start to the Australian Grand Prix for World Champion Max Verstappen, who ended the first day at the Albert Park Circuit in second place, behind Scuderia Ferrari’s, Charles Leclerc.
Verstappen looked strong on the opening day in Australia, the Dutchman played around with the set-up of his RB16 most of the day after complaining about it’s balance throughout Free Practice 1 and the start of Free Practice 2. However after some adjustments were made, Verstappen felt much happier and was able to post a 1:19.223, just two tenths off of Leclerc.
Verstappen believes himself and the team are heading in the right direction, the World Champion also commented on the improved track surface.
“Today has been quite positive, the grip on track was good and the bumps have definitely improved, it’s a bit smoother and it makes the track nicer as well because you can actually attack the corners a bit more, I enjoyed my laps today. I think in FP1 and at the beginning of FP2 we were lacking a bit of balance, then for the final run we changed the car around a little bit and I felt a lot happier. We are still a tiny bit off Ferrari, but I think this weekend we can maybe make it a little bit closer.
“In the long run I think everything worked well, so I am happy about that, and we’ve made some good improvements today. We are heading in a good direction and we’ll try to build from there tomorrow.”
“A few things aren’t working as expected” – Sergio Pérez
On the other side of the Oracle Red Bull Racing garage, Sergio Pérez ended the day in fifth place having completed forty-laps across both sessions combined. The Mexican ended Friday almost seven tenths off of Leclerc and just over four tenths behind his team-mate.
Pérez found the opening day in Australia challenging after the car wasn’t behaving completely to his liking, he is hopeful though that the team can understand where the issues lie before Qualifying.
“It was a fairly challenging Friday for us. We made some changes going into FP2 that we must analyse because a few things aren’t working as expected. The car felt better in some ways from FP1 into the second session and in other ways not, there is plenty to work on to try to understand the direction we have taken.
“It has been a very difficult day in terms of mileage, starting in FP1 and we lost some track time in FP2 but I think we have some good data to go over tonight. If we can find a few tenths then that would turn things in our favour this weekend, we just have to understand where we are at the moment with the car.”