After topping the second practice session for the German Grand Prix, Max Verstappen admits Red Bull is stronger than it expected to be at Hockenheim.
Daniel Ricciardo (pictured at left, with Verstappen) has taken a power unit penalty ahead of this weekend’s race that will see him start from the back of the grid on Sunday, but was then quickest in the opening session on Friday. Verstappen was third in FP1 and followed that up with the quickest time in FP2, and admits the performance level so far is higher than the team had predicted.
“It’s a good Friday, better than expected so hopefully we can keep the momentum going,” Verstappen said. “I don’t know yet [if Red Bull can fight Ferrari and Mercedes]. I haven’t really done a proper run in the second practice but from our car side it all works quite well. I’m happy about that but we will have to see in qualifying because that will define a lot.”
Asked if Mercedes and Ferrari will have the measure of Red Bull in qualifying — when both teams traditionally make a step forward — Verstappen replied: “Should be, normally.
“We can still improve — my lap was a bit compromised as I had traffic. I hope that tomorrow we can be close and maybe with the weather, we will see what happens.
“It’s good the car is working well. Hopefully tomorrow will be the same but let’s wait and see.”
Verstappen missed out on the majority of his long run during FP2 as he reported a strange noise when downshifting and returned to the garage, but Red Bull was able to fix the car in time for him rejoin in the closing moments of the session.
“We found out we had a little oil leak so we had to repair it, that’s why I went out at the end again to check everything and it was fine,” he explained.
Teammate Ricciardo says his focus has been on his race performance given the grid penalty and is encouraged by Red Bull’s long run pace.
“The priority today was to try and get a good race setup because we are going to be coming through a few guys on Sunday. so we prioritized that,” Ricciardo said.
“I had some time to prepare — I was aware I was probably going to take the penalty here, so now I just look at it as a fun Sunday coming through the field. That is the plan. I’ll try and get as far up as I can and if you get a podium from the back it’s like a win. So that is my target. I can still win the race.”