Max Verstappen feels there is still more to come from both himself and Oracle Red Bull Racing despite topping both free practice sessions on Friday as the Canadian Grand Prix weekend got underway.
The Dutchman paced the first session at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve with a time of 1:15.158 ahead of Scuderia Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz Jr., and he improved his time to a 1:14.127 in the second session to edge out the other Ferrari of Charles Leclerc by 0.081 seconds.
Verstappen says it was positive to start the weekend so strongly but there is still time to find, particularly on the soft Pirelli tyre, and he will be looking to find that time ahead of Qualifying on Saturday.
“It was a positive day, of course there are always things that you can look at to try and find the complete balance, but overall today was a good start to the weekend,” said Verstappen. “The softest compound is always the hardest one to nail, so I think there’s definitely more time to find in that, even then we have a competitive car so that’s good.
“The long run was good, it’s still hard on tyres around here so there’s still a few things to work on. Even with the things I want to improve, it was still a good day.”
Verstappen says he will be prepared for Qualifying on Saturday regardless of whether it is wet or dry, and come race day on Sunday, he already feels Red Bull have a competitive car at their disposal.
“If it rains in qualifying, it’s the same for everyone, we just deal with it,” he said. “It’s good to see that for Sunday we should have a competitive car so whatever happens tomorrow, we will see.”
“There is not much we can read into the sessions today” – Sergio Pérez
On the other side of the garage, team-mate Sergio Pérez did not have the best of days, with the Mexican missing out on the top ten in the afternoon session.
Having placed fifth in the morning, Pérez struggled to get the best out of his RB18 at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in the afternoon and was over a second down on the best time set by Verstappen.
Pérez believes they have solved the issues that cost him time and hopes to bring himself into contention for a place on the front row of the grid in Saturday’s Qualifying session in Canada.
“Unfortunately, there is not much we can read into the sessions today, to really work the car out you need to get good pace and then work from there, which I couldn’t do today,” said Pérez.
“We had an issue with the set-up on our low fuel runs but luckily we managed to figure it out and the long runs were a bit more representative but still we had a bit of an issue – hopefully tomorrow we can sort everything out. I am a bit on the back foot but, all being well tonight, we are able to make the right compromises to be competitive tomorrow.
“We will see what the weather does for qualifying tomorrow because it could really shake things up. Max looks strong so that gives me the hope we can make my car competitive when it matters on Saturday.”