With the running for the day done, Max Verstappen opens up on Red Bull’s running for today’s practice sessions.
Charles Leclerc set the benchmarks for both FP1 and FP2. The Monegasque set the fastest time of the day in FP2, with a 1:19:670. In FP1, he was closely followed up by Carlos Sainz, and Max Verstappen slotted in at 3rd, about 2 and a half-tenths behind. In FP2, Leclerc finished ahead of Mercedes duo George Russell and Lewis Hamilton, with Carlos Sainz and Max Verstappen in hot pursuit.
Remarking on the 45-degree track temperature, Verstappen said to The Telegraph that: “[It was] Difficult to find the right balance, also given the heat.”
Max Verstappen was quickest on the medium tires and was also faster than Charles Leclerc during the longer runs, at least during their respective last five laps.
Earlier, Verstappen had said: “You might run a bit closer, but still tough to overtake on this track. The goal is to not overtake and start at the front.”
Clearly, Verstappen wants to avoid having to make any overtakes, with a clear target of starting at pole position and staying in front.
“The long runs looked good. But we have to find a middle ground because we have some work to do in one round.”
Verstappen further added: “It’s tough for the tires here, in terms of balance we’re not quite satisfied yet. At least the weather is consistent, so we can continue with this.”
Verstappen is targeting to improve his one-lap pace for qualifying, which is the only area where he felt that they were lacking: “I have my timesheet, I see it, we just have work to do for over one lap.”
What’s in store for the rest of the weekend?
At least 8 of the 10 teams have brought upgrades to the paddock in Spain. Red Bull Racing have kept targeting slimming down the weight of the car, and have brought in a new front wing and floor body.
Ferrari have been targeting to reduce their drag and improve their straight-line speeds, which has been their main area of concern. The Red Bulls have been comfortably the fastest on the straights. Carlos Sainz will be hoping to get his first win at his home race, while Charles Leclerc would aim to extend his championship lead over Max Verstappen.
Mercedes seemed to have gotten rid of their porpoising issues, and seem to have improved the general pace of the W13. They were notably ‘fastest’ on the straights. McLaren have notably bought in 10 upgrades, with Aston Martin’s ‘half a new car’ and Alfa Romeo the second most with 8. Mercedes might have seemed to improve their pace, but there is no way to find out for certain until the qualifying session, tomorrow.