Verstappen: One lap pace ‘clearly still lacking’ to Mercedes

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was Mercedes’ closest challenger on the opening day of running in Barcelona, but the Dutchman noted his RB16’s deficit to the day’s pace setters over a single lap.

Verstappen was almost a second behind Valtteri Bottas in FP1 and narrowed the gap to 0.821s in the afternoon practice session in which Lewis Hamilton clocked in fastest.

The authoritative winner of last weekend’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix was happy overall with his car’s performance, especially on the long runs where Verstappen hopes to give the Black Arrows another run for their money this weekend.

    Spanish Grand Prix Free Practice 2 – Results

“The car was performing quite well and overall it was a positive day,” said Verstappen.

“Over one lap we are clearly still lacking to Mercedes but on the long runs the car felt nice to drive which is of course what is important for the race.

“We are using the hardest tyre compounds here which is different to last weekend. I would maybe have liked the softer tyres (laughs) but that is not for us to choose, the tyres are manageable and it is pretty hot out there!

“I expect in Qualifying that Mercedes will still have the edge as they are very fast but who knows in the race. I felt quite good today so let’s see if I feel the same on Sunday when it matters.”


Verstappen’s teammate Alex Albon was only P13 in FP2, a lowly position justified by the British-Thai racer trying “a few things” in the session.

“I felt pretty comfortable with the car in FP1 and I think we found a good direction in that session,” he said.

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“We tried a few things in FP2 that didn’t quite go the way we wanted them to but that’s what Friday’s are for, seeing what works and what doesn’t.

“We’ll have a look at the data this evening to see how we can maximise our performance tomorrow.

“The tyre degradation today felt okay compared to last weekend at Silverstone, saying that, it’s tricky out there with track temperatures at around 48 degrees so there will be a lot of tyre management on race day, that’s for sure!”

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