World Championship leader Max Verstappen continued his good form as he topped the times in both FP1 and FP2 at the Red Bull Ring today ahead of a double-header at this team’s home venue.
However, Verstappen is fully aware of the threat posed by Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes. The Brit had his best time deleted for track limits; the seven-time World Champion would have been 0.077s clear of his title rival had it stood.
Nonetheless, the 23-year-old was happy with the balance of his car throughout the day as he goes for a third win in four races and a third victory at the Austrian circuit.
“In the second practice Lewis was faster but his lap time got deleted, so it looks a bit different, I think, than what's shown at the moment,” said Verstappen. “But I think overall it's been quite good for us, of course a few things still to look into but overall I'm quite happy with where the car is at the moment.”
Good to be racing in Austria 🇦🇹 Brings back a lot of memories, including the fantastic support from the Orange Army 🧡 Next week we’re expecting many fans but there are still some tickets available. So for a last minute trip to support me, check https://t.co/z4wv16TiLv See you 👋 pic.twitter.com/dt3E8lTgrj— Max Verstappen (@Max33Verstappen) June 25, 2021
Fridays haven’t been Sergio Perez’s strongest days in 2021 and that continued today as the Mexican could only manage P9 in FP2, 0.677s adrift of teammate Verstappen.
Once again, the 31-year-old struggled to find the sweet spot during the practice sessions as he chases a good balance.
“From our side, we just have to find a bit of fine-tuning,” said Perez. “I seem to have these issues in practice – I'm not so comfortable in the car, I kind of take one direction and probably it's not the right one.
“I think we do have good pace. The long-run pace seemed to be promising so if we're able to find a couple of tenths overnight, we're in the fight for tomorrow, which is important.
“I'm not concerned at all,” he added. “Obviously here finding a few tenths makes a huge difference. So hopefully we are in the mix tomorrow come qualifying and we're able to put a great lap together in Q3.''
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