Formula 1 makes his "debut" in Zandvoort after 36 years of absence. All the standings were full of fans wearing orange to celebrate local hero Max Verstappen, who unfortunately failed to top even one of the two free practice sessions.
The first session has been characterized by a red flag caused by Sebastian Vettel's Aston Martin, which suffered from an electric issue and it was difficult for marshals to remove the car from the track as it wasn't safe. A lot of drivers couldn't then complete their programme: Verstappen managed to finish second behind title contender Lewis Hamilton, just 0.097s faster on the fast lap. In the afternoon Max was trying for the fastest lap when Nikita Mazepin lost his VF-21 and spun. The Dutchman was forced to slow down and then switched to lung run simulation. At the end, he is only 5th.
“I don’t think it looks very representative from our side on the short run because already after one lap the tyres do drop off a bit - Verstappen said at the end of FP2 - nevertheless we will work on a few things where we’re not entirely happy in the short run. But the long run looks competitive so of course that is always very important".
“We also know that the starting position around here is very important, so we’ll have a look what we can do for the short run to make it a bit better tomorrow, there are just a few things we need to understand a bit better to get a bit more pace out of it”.
“But like I said it’s also not very representative because my lap was on a used set and the lap I had to abort I think would have been good enough for first. So then of course you talk already a bit differently, but it’s never perfect. We’ll always try to look into details what we can do better”.
“I was really enjoyable to see all of them in orange and having fun in the grandstands,” he said. “And of course the track as well, it’s quite a short lap, a lot of fast corners, it was a fun day".
Not an awesome day for Sergio Perez: the Mexican couldn't put together a fast lap in FP1, as he only managed to put himself in 16th place. In the afternoon Checo tried to build confidence with his RB16B and the track, but again he stayed out of the top 10.
“It was awesome to get out there and drive this old school circuit. It’s very different to the other tracks we go to and with so many consecutive right-hand corners it’s a pretty unique and physical challenge" said Perez, 12th.
"I’ve never driven here before so it’s completely new and with so many red flags it was difficult to get into a rhythm - he explained - you really need the confidence going into the session to trust the car in order to push it and I wasn’t quite there or fully comfortable today so there are a couple of things on my side that we need to look at and make some decisions on in order to get the most out of the package.
"It’s amazing to see so many fans enjoying themselves and cheering in the grandstands so I expect the energy around the track to only get better and better over the weekend”.