Max Verstappen admits Red Bull is on the back foot a little after practice at the French Grand Prix, with limited running in FP2.
Red Bull and Verstappen lead both championships but Ferrari has won the last two races, and it was Carlos Sainz who led a Ferrari one-two in FP2 with Verstappen half a second off the pace. There was also a lack of mileage as the Dutchman spent a long spell in the garage before starting his high fuel running and he says the team needs to make progress overnight.
“I think FP2 was a little bit more difficult for us; just didn’t really get the balance like we hoped for, but also we are trying a few things with the car,” Verstappen said. “So, we’ll have a look at it all for tomorrow and yes, of course try to be closer than what we were today.
“In long runs it’s a bit better but again, the tires are running really hot and it’s very difficult to judge really where you are. But we know of course that we still have a little bit of work to do.”
Ferrari’s victory in Austria was based on its better tire management than Red Bull, but Verstappen says he doesn’t have enough data to understand if the same could be true in France.
“That I don’t know. I mean, overall this track is very hard on the tires anyway so I think you cannot compare it to Austria, but I think in general we all needed a few more laps to really have a good look at the long run.”
Teammate Sergio Perez was the only driver to complete fewer laps than Verstappen, and the Mexican says he is similarly struggling in the early stages of the weekend.
“Obviously I’m not very comfortable at the moment with the car,” Perez said. “I think there’s some good work and understanding to be done over tonight, and try to pick up the best pieces for tomorrow’s quali and race.
“It’s been a very short stint on that soft tire but it’s what it is and hopefully tomorrow we are able to put it all together and be in the fight.”