Max Verstappen said that Red Bull have their work cut out to find a turn of pace in Turkey after he struggled with the balance of his car and finished fifth in Free Practice 2 on Friday.
Verstappen took P2 in FP1 behind championship rival Lewis Hamilton, but the Dutchman was more than four-tenths off the pace. When he returned in FP2, he was six-tenths off leader Hamilton and fifth overall, having complained on the radio of mid-corner instability.
WATCH: The drivers tackle Istanbul Park’s iconic Turn 8 flat-out in the opening Turkish GP practice session
After the session, he was asked where Red Bull could end up on Saturday, and replied: “I don’t know yet. I mean, hopefully of course it will improve – otherwise it’s not looking too good. We’ll see what we can do overnight.
“I mean, we tried a few things compared to FP1 but also FP1 wasn’t that great,” he explained. “We’re still looking around a bit what to do. Of course it’s a bit different here; we don’t have a lot of data from here with these kind of cars so it seems like we have a bit of an evening ahead to try and make it a bit better because today wasn’t the best of days.”
Team mate Sergio Perez finished 10th in FP1 but recovered to fourth in FP2 having seemed to be more assured with his Red Bull’s balance, especially compared to Verstappen.
The Mexican said: “Overall, yes, a pretty challenging Friday. Mercedes looked strong, but hopefully overnight we are able to chip away a couple of tenths and be in the mix for tomorrow.
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“It’s all about compromise, you know?” he added. “I think if you try to get the ideal balance for quali on one lap, you compromise a bit too much the long run pace, which is important around here because overtaking is relatively easy. I expect some cars are going to try it on Sunday if it’s dry. But other than that, I think [it was a] positive Friday and hopefully we are able to chip a couple of tenths away and we should be looking good,” concluded Perez.
Red Bull are 33 points behind Mercedes – and Verstappen two points behind Hamilton – in the title fight, but with the Briton taking a 10-place grid penalty on Sunday, this could be Verstappen’s weekend after all…
Max Verstappen didn’t have ‘the best of days’ at Turkish GP practice