Red Bull hopes to increase their championship lead over Mercedes on a track that has recently been more friendly to the German team, with Hamilton winning the last races at Le Castellet and both their drivers signing the best times of today's morning session. However, their drivers weren't that far away, securing P3 and P4 with less than half a second of a gap.
Championship leader Max Verstappen managed to snatch the top spot in the afternoon session on Valtteri Bottas, with only 0,008 seconds of advantage on the Finn driver who lead FP1.
The Dutch driver wasn't satisfied with his morning performance, but later had a better feeling with the car in spite of the track conditions, as he stated:
"I think we improved quite well, even during the session. Of course, [in] FP1 I wasn’t entirely happy, then FP2 also started still not amazing, but I think on the second set, the car felt a lot better, a lot more connected, but it’s still really difficult around here; the track is very hot, it’s quite windy out there, so it’s not easy to nail the lap."
Verstappen added that he believes that Red Bull can fight for the victory on Sunday, as they have shown a good race pace, but warns that it'll be a close one: "Difficult to say but for us today, it’s good, but you never know what people will find overnight."
"But for us long runs seem quite decent today – for sure I expect it to be, again, very tight, but definitely not easy," he concluded.
His teammate, and winner of the Azerbaijan GP Sergio Perez, isn't particularly worried about the result of his afternoon session, as he explained to the press:
"I think I got a pretty bad run, some traffic involved, and some changes that probably we took a wrong direction with them."
The Mexican driver is confident that the issues that marred today's session can be fixed before tomorrow, especially after seeing the good lap times put in by Verstappen:
"I don’t think we were as bad as it looked. Max had a good day on pace and yes I think we are looking there, and I think tomorrow hopefully we are able to find a lot of pace overnight, understand a bit the issues, and we should be there."
June 18, 2021