Seeing Max Verstappen out of the top 3 at the end of the second free practice session in Barcelona shouldn’t be misleading.
The world champion and Red Bull are by no means in crisis, but they preferred to concentrate this afternoon’s work on the race pace showing, both with the Dutchman and with Perez, a very competitive race pace.
While the two Ferrari drivers, Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, complained of early tire degradation, the Red Bull driver seemed much less worried about Pirelli’s drop in performance, running on constant times that place him as the favorite for the win. .
To have an excellent chance of success, however, Verstappen will have to fix the flying lap. In the simulation of qualifying, the Dutchman did not seem particularly at ease and Max himself confirmed this at the end of the session.
“It was a bit tricky to find the right balance in this heat. We clearly have some work to do to fix the flying lap, while the long runs look pretty good. At the moment I am satisfied ”.
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB18
Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images
1’19 ” 990 was Verstappen’s time in FP2. The Dutchman, the last driver to go under the 1’20 ” wall, paid a gap of 3 tenths from the reference signed by Leclerc and admitted that at Red Bull there is still work to be done to make the RB18 competitive in all conditions.
“This is a complicated track for the tires and clearly we are not yet at the top in terms of balance. The positive thing is that the weather will be constant throughout the weekend, so we can start from today’s data to work ”.
Sergio Perez is also on the same wavelength. The Mexican, who skipped FP1 today to make room for Juri Vips, closed the second free practice session with the seventh time in 1’20 ” 632 and he too underlined how the critical point will be finding the right set up that can prove effective both in qualifying and in the race.
“The degradation was an important factor. It was not easy to do two laps with the same speed because this is a track where you only have one lap available with the tires ”.
“With a high fuel load we have clear ideas, while with little petrol we have to find the right compromise because it is difficult to put two laps together. You have to find the right balance and it is quite difficult. I hope that tonight we will be able to take a step forward to be able to be competitive in qualifying ”.