Fifth for Verstappen ‘not very representative’
By Mat Coch
Saturday 4th September, 2021 - 1:04am
Friday’s running at the Formula 1 Dutch Grand Prix was not representative for Max Verstappen.
The Dutchman ended the opening day with just the fifth fastest time in Free Practice 2 after being forced to abandon his fastest lap due to red flags.
He had been on part with Charles Leclerc’s best time of the session prior to the red flag being shown for Nikita Mazepin burying his Haas in the gravel at Turn 11.
“I don’t think it looks very representative from our side in the short run, because already after one lap, the tyres do drop off a bit,” Verstappen explained.
“Nevertheless, you know, we will work on a few things where we were not entirely happy in the short run, but the long run is competitive.
“That is always very important, but we also know that the starting position around here is very important, so I will have a look at what we can for the short run to make it a bit better.”
While the longer run pace for the Red Bull looks stronger, there are unanswered questions surrounding the speed of championship rivals Mercedes after Lewis Hamilton logged just 20 laps across both 60-minute sessions.
In Free Practice 2, Valtteri Bottas was left to perform the bulk of the team’s programme after Hamilton was forced to stop his car on track after just three laps with an oil system problem.
It was the second time a Mercedes-powered car had stopped on circuit, following Sebastian Vettel crawling to a halt in Free Practice 1.
Despite that, Verstappen is satisfied with where he ended the day, even if he doesn’t consider the timesheets an accurate reflection of the pace he possesses.
“There are just a few things we need to understand better to get a bit more pace out of it,” he admitted.
“But like I said, it’s also not very representative because my lap was on a used set, and the lap I had to abort I think would have been good enough for first, so then of course you talk already a bit differently.
“But it’s never perfect, so we’ll always try to look into details of what we can do better.”
While Verstappen was fifth fastest, team-mate Sergio Perez was just 11th best, 1.044s away from the outright pace.
Free Practice 3 follows at Zandvoort tonight from 20:00 AEST, with Qualifying at 23:00 AEST.