Max Verstappen was frustrated with the interruptions throughout both free practice sessions for the Australian Grand Prix on Friday, with red flags in the first session being followed by rain showers in the second.
The Oracle Red Bull Racing driver topped the first session in the dry despite complaining of low grip and slippery surfaces, while he was third behind Fernando Alonso and Charles Leclerc in the second session that saw only fifteen minutes or so of meaningful running before the rain hit Albert Park.
Verstappen hopes to get on top of understanding the Pirelli tyres on Saturday and begin his fight for a second victory in three races, and his first ever in Australia.
“The conditions weren’t great out there today, we had low grip and the tarmac seemed to be slippery,” said Verstappen. “It was quite tough to switch the tyres on, so that was difficult when you want to push immediately.
“There were also quite a few interruptions with the red flags, so we never really got into a rhythm. It was difficult to tell how the car felt as we never got a window where I thought we were on top of the tyres.
“We’ll look over the data tonight and see what we have to do tomorrow. The conditions should be clearer for the rest of the weekend, so we can focus on that.”
“Tomorrow we will see where we really are” – Sergio Pérez
Team-mate Sergio Pérez was left frustrated with traffic during second practice, the Mexican failing to get a truly representative time on the board after finding drivers getting in his way.
Pérez was on course to displace Alonso at the top of the timesheets just prior to the rain shower only to encounter the slow running Zhou Guanyu between turns nine and ten that put paid to his chances. He ended only seventh as a result having placed third in the opening session.
Heading into the rest of the weekend, Pérez says there is still plenty to do to find the ultimate pace from the RB19, and it will only be on Saturday where they find out where they truly are compared to their rivals.
“There were some issues with the GPS in FP1 and it felt like a lot of us still had issues with it in FP2,” said Pérez. “We made some good changes from FP1 that I could feel in sector 1 and sector 2 but I couldn’t get a full lap in the afternoon with the traffic in sector 3.
“I was a bit surprised in the damp conditions that I couldn’t get a good sense of the track, but in the dry it was great and the car felt good.
“There is plenty to do tomorrow, but we still take a lot of confidence from today. Tomorrow we will see where we really are.”