Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Red Bull’s Max Verstappen says he has work to do overnight to improve the balance of his RB15 after Friday practice.
Max Verstappen finished the first day of practice at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi down in P5, having slipped down the order from P2 in the opening practice session. As dusk drew in and the temperatures dropped from the earlier session, Verstappen was shuffled behind Lewis Hamilton and the two Ferrari drivers as they found more pace in the more representative conditions for the qualifying session and the race on Sunday.
Stepping out of the car at the end of the day, Verstappen reflected on a reasonably straightforward day and said that there’s work to do to unlock more pace.
“Overall, it was a pretty decent Friday.” said Verstappen. “I’m not entirely happy with the balance yet and there are of course still some things we need to look at and do better but overall I’m pretty pleased. Mercedes look very strong here again and will be hard to beat but I still think it will be close tomorrow. We will analyse the tyre data later today but overall there are no real surprises. The soft is quick over one lap and on race runs it drops off as expected.”
On the other side of the garage, Alex Albon was just under half a second off the pace of his teammate. He acknowledged that he’s aiming to fine-tune his performances against Verstappen, as the season winds down and he gets ready for a much more intensive year alongside Max in 2020: “It was tricky out there but overall today was good and we’re getting there. It’s difficult to get the tyres working and there’s quite a lot of dust down so that’s why we saw a lot of cars spinning.”
“The balance was ok and we know we need to improve a little bit here and there but Max looked quick so let’s see how things go tomorrow. I think I’ve got a little bit of fine tuning to do on my side, especially in sector three, but we’re chipping away. The Ferraris will of course be quick in qualifying but let’s see where we are come qualifying.”
— Aston Martin Red Bull Racing (@redbullracing) November 29, 2019