Red Bull drivers Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez had mixed feelings after today's practice session as Mercedes closed the gap on their rivals as they took advantage of a softer tyre compound.
After taking victory in the first of an Austrian doubleheader, Red Bull had a mixed Friday with Verstappen fastest in the first practice session before falling back to third in the afternoon session whilst Perez could only manage eighth and 11th in both practice sessions.
Although Mercedes gained ground on Red Bull, Verstappen was happy with his day’s running as he predicts a tight battle in tomorrow’s qualifying session.
“From our side we didn’t have a perfect run in FP2 but nevertheless I felt good in the car and there are no real problems. Mercedes looked quite quick on the soft so we just have to make sure we have a little more pace on that compound because we looked stronger on the medium and in the long runs, which at the end of the day is the most important for the race.
“I think it will be tight again this weekend as it looks like Mercedes improved a bit but we will see tomorrow in qualifying and the most important thing is to make sure we look after the softer compounds in the race.”
On the other hand, Perez has said that he’s not entirely comfortable with the RB16B on the softer tyre, with the Mexican admitting that he will need to analyse the data to find the pace that he lost in today’s practice sessions.
“The long runs were definitely more promising today but there’s still a lot of work to do. Both sessions were quite tough and I’m not feeling fully comfortable with the car on the softer compound yet. We need to analyse the data tonight to try and get the pace back to where we would expect it to be, ready for qualifying tomorrow.
“We seemed to be quite far away from the balance with the low fuel but we corrected that quite quickly, we were also seeing less degradation on these tyres too which is good. Overall, I learnt a lot from today and it’s great to see all of the fans here at the Red Bull Ring and hopefully we can have a good qualifying tomorrow and a solid race on Sunday.”