Ferrari was the fastest during both the free practices, with Charles Leclerc leading the FP2 by eight tens ahead of Mercedes. Verstappen, instead, ended, sixth behind the Sergio Perez’s Racing Point.
Nevertheless, the three top teams looked closer over the long runs, with Verstappen running on a lower power mode than its main rivals. The Dutch driver pointed out how he hopes to be close to Mercedes, while Ferrari seems out of reach at the moment.
🗣 "It will be hard to beat Ferrari around here but we should be closer to Mercedes tomorrow." 👊 @Max33Verstappen after free practice at the #BelgianGP 🇧🇪👉 https://t.co/2eInwXndMF #F1 pic.twitter.com/1RBWWLRsbk— Aston Martin Red Bull Racing (@redbullracing) 30 agosto 2019
“They are very strong, they gain a lot of time on the straight here but that is not a surprise," said Verstappen about Ferrari.
"We try to do the best we can from our side. Today was not amazing as we had to run with lower power all day compared to the normal mode we use on a Friday, but in general I am quite happy with the car balance.
"I don't expect to beat Ferrari but hopefully we can be closer to Mercedes, as it seems like they are a bit down to Ferrari."
Verstappen continued indicating that there is not so much room for improvement in finding out a better balance in terms of downforce and straight speed.
"I don't think there is much you can do now.
"Everyone is running really low downforce, so I think the next step we can do is take the wing off - but I don't think that is really smart."
Verstappen, differently from his team-mate Albon, who will start from the end of the grid as due to the debut of the Honda’s spec 4, Verstappen will race with an older power unit. Despite, the Red Bull driver does not seem concerned of the potential disadvantage of competing with an old engine.
"My engine was a bit older and around here it's quite hard on the engine, so you need to be safe with them," he underlined.
"We still have another engine - that engine we'll use tomorrow, and then we'll see.
"It's not a concern. We knew it was coming up. You have few engines you can use, and of course some of them are getting a bit older."