Max Verstappen said he was encouraged by Red Bull’s potential during Friday practice at the Spanish Grand Prix despite finishing ninth in FP2.
On his first flying lap on soft tires, Verstappen ran wide at the new Turn 10 and chose to abort, with a second effort leaving him some 0.6s adrift of Lewis Hamilton. Despite that incident and a damaged front wing in the second session, Verstappen says he feels good about Red Bull’s level of competitiveness in Barcelona.
“Just a little bit wide in Turn 10, got onto the curb,” Verstappen said. “Overall, I think we had quite a good day. The car seems quite competitive, so looking forward to tomorrow to try and improve a bit further but nothing too shocking today.
“We seem quite competitive. How competitive we’re going to be tomorrow is always going to be a question mark but from our side, we were quite happy. Of course you always want to improve and you want to do better but there was nothing weird going on today.”
After his first taste of Turn 10 in F1 machinery, Verstappen was encouraged from a qualifying point of view but thinks the new corner will have a negative impact on the racing.
“I’ve been here before when they had already changed the corner. I think it’s better over one lap pushing — it’s a bit faster, a bit more enjoyable — but for overtaking, it’s worse.”
Verstappen’s teammate Sergio Perez was less pleased with how his Friday panned out, specifically focusing on his qualifying pace.
“It was a tricky day — these days with the limited practice we have, we had a couple of delays in both sessions and that means we were rushing a bit into traffic and stuff like that,” Perez said. “A lot of understanding and pace to be found tonight, especially over one lap. I think the long-run pace looks stronger.
“We have to work and see what we are able to take for qualifying, giving how important it is here … Hopefully we are able to recover the pace tonight and we can be in the mix tomorrow.”