During this weekend of the Turkish Grand Prix, Red Bull is at the center of the attention of the Formula 1 world. In a race that replaced the Japanese GP, home race of its partner Honda, to which the Austrian team has decided to dedicate a special livery, to celebrate the extension of the partnership for at least another two years.
A race that, like all those remaining, could be decisive for the tight World Championship battle between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, with the Dutchman just two points behind the Mercedes’ driver, who this Sunday will have to serve a 10 - place grid penalty, as he has taken a new engine at Istanbul Park.
After the first two free practice sessions, Red Bull did not look brilliant. It finished FP1 in second position with Verstappen and in tenth with Perez, and then took home a fourth position with the Mexican driver and a fifth position with the Dutchman in FP2.
After the session, Max Verstappen was asked where Red Bull could end up on Saturday, and replied:
"I don’t know yet. I mean, hopefully of course it will improve – otherwise it’s not looking too good. We’ll see what we can do overnight.
"I mean, we tried a few things compared to FP1 but also FP1 wasn’t that great," - he said - “We’re still looking around a bit what to do. Of course it’s a bit different here; we don’t have a lot of data from here with these kind of cars so it seems like we have a bit of an evening ahead to try and make it a bit better because today wasn’t the best of days."
On the other hand his teammate, Sergio Perez, seemed a bit more confident:
“It has been a positive Friday overall and with the work we will do this evening we should be looking good for qualifying.” - he said – “The amount of grip surprised me today; it is more like a standard track out there now, but it is still very challenging because the grip is not consistent.
🗣 "The amount of grip surprised me today; it is more like a standard track out there now, but it is still very challenging because the grip is not consistent." @SChecoPerez on #TurkishGP Friday 🇹🇷👉 https://t.co/eKhXF9aZc0 pic.twitter.com/YDzrBQGeEs— Red Bull Racing Honda (@redbullracing) October 8, 2021
“It’s a super nice track especially with the improved conditions but it looks like we have a lot to go through this evening because today wasn’t the best of days. We tried a few different things going from FP1 to FP2 but we’re still looking around for improvements as we don’t have a lot of data on these cars for this track.
He also commented on Lewis Hamilton penalty and on how to find the balance on this kind of track, mentioning that the weather could surprise everyone on Sunday:
“Of course, Lewis is taking a penalty on Sunday, but we have to focus on ourselves, hopefully we can make improvements before qualifying tomorrow as we have some challenges, we'll see what we can do. I’m just looking forward to the rest of the weekend and getting back out there on track.”
“Sometimes on the entrance to the corner you have less grip than on the exit, so as a driver it is difficult to adjust to that aspect of this track. Mercedes look strong here but hopefully overnight we are able to chip away a couple of tenths and be in the mix for tomorrow.
“It is all about compromise because if you try and get the ideal balance for qualifying over one lap then you compromise the long run pace a bit, which is important here because overtaking is relatively easy. There is the potential of rain for qualifying tomorrow, but we will be well prepared, whatever the weather.”