Positives of practice pace outweigh crash concerns for Verstappen

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Positives of practice pace outweigh crash concerns for Verstappen

Formula 1

Positives of practice pace outweigh crash concerns for Verstappen

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Max Verstappen says he had “a very positive start” to the Belgian Grand Prix weekend despite crashing at the end of FP2.

The Dutchman was second to Valtteri Bottas in the first practice session, and then set the pace ahead of the two Mercedes drivers in the afternoon, although on a softer tire compound. FP2 ended with Verstappen crashing on the exit of Turn 7 to bring out the second red flag of the day, but he was pleased with the way his weekend got underway.

“I don’t know, I just lost the rear,” Verstappen said of the crash. “A bit too much oversteer to correct and unfortunately, I hit the wall.

“(Apart from that), it was good. I think the whole day we were quite happy. Of course, a few things to fine-tune from FP1 to FP2. Overall, we are very happy. I think, definitely, a very positive start.”

With teams trying to work out which downforce level is best to run — low downforce improving times in sectors one and three but hurting the middle sector, and higher downforce the opposite — Verstappen says he was comfortable with his starting point but is wary of how rain could impact things.

“I didn’t change anything on my car with the wing. I felt happy with what I had; but of course, a few things to take into consideration with the weather as well.

“Difficult to say in the wet because so far we’ve not driven it yet but I think every day will be a bit like it was today. Definitely it will be quite interesting.”

Verstappen’s teammate Sergio Perez was further down the standings — ending FP2 in 10th place — but feels similarly confident Red Bull will be well positioned to fight Mercedes on Saturday.

“I think the car is feeling is good,” Perez said. “I think we have good potential for the weekend. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens with the weather tomorrow, but I’m looking forward to it. I think we should be able to have a good qualifying session. We got plenty of good information from today and we just have to pick up the best bits for tomorrow and make sure we are able to have a strong quali.

“It’s obviously in the back of our minds, the weather, but I think we just have to analyze and pick up our bits for tomorrow.”

After being confirmed at Red Bull for 2022 earlier on Friday, Perez added: “It’s good to waste zero energy on that, knowing what I’m doing next year and just focus on this season.”

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