Friday was not an easy day for Max Verstappen, struggling with a feeling that was never really perfect given the problems in getting the tires to work properly.
After a morning session in which he had denoted some difficulty in making the car work especially in the middle of the corner, in the afternoon the Dutchman finished in third place before the arrival of the rain interrupted the set-up work which had already been hampered in the morning due to of the GPS problem and the related red flag.
With an asphalt that the two-times world champion defined as particularly slippery, an aspect already highlighted last year following the track reconstruction works, in Friday’s free practice the Red Bull standard bearer underlined the difficulties in making it work properly the tires.
Added to this are the low temperatures of the circuit: if in FP1 that of the asphalt had stood at around 30°C, in the afternoon it dropped further, around 25°C in the few completed laps still in dry conditions, to then plummet to 21C when the rain came.
For Verstappen, the problems encountered on Friday seem to be linked precisely to the track conditions rather than to an incorrect balance of the car: “I think the car was ok, even if it’s difficult to say. We have never entered a window in which we had brought the tires up to temperature well, so there is a bit of work to do tonight”, explained the Hasselt driver at the end of FP2.
“To be honest it wasn’t even about the car, it’s that the grip offered by the track is really low. The asphalt is very slippery, already last year and it is difficult to get the tires up to temperature”.
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19
Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images
Over the years Verstappen has become accustomed to a type of schedule during free practice in which he takes to the track setting the time immediately, a plan that proved more complex in Melbourne.
“When you just want to go out and push (here) it gets complex. With the interruptions, the red flags that we’ve had, you just can’t get into the rhythm. But we will see the data tonight, we have to make the right choices for tomorrow and the car will be competitive”, added the Milton Keynes team standard bearer referring to the interruption due to GPS problems in the morning.
Finally, Verstappen confirmed that, after the intestinal problems suffered in the last two weeks, he now feels fit again and ready to push on the track:
“Things are fine now. Obviously you always want to feel good, that’s something important as you approach the weekend.”
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