The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya has some great memories for the team, including Max making his debut for the Team and making history as the youngest ever driver to win a Grand Prix. The team are hoping and excited to extend their good memories in the circuit.
On Friday, Oracle Red Bull Racing hit the track of Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya which will host Sunday’s 66-lap race. Free Practice 1 was the chance for Jüri Vips, Formula 2 competitor and Red Bull Junior Team member, to take Sergio Perez seat for the session in one of the two mandated FP1 sessions for junior or non-racing drivers during the season.
“My experience today was amazing. Just to drive on the Grand Prix weekend is an incredible moment,” said Vips.
“When it first got announced I just kept thinking about when I first started karting and it was just a hobby and now, I am going to get in the car. It was a busy session; we did lots of aero mapping, so we never planned to do any push laps.
“I can see why F1 is so hard because these sessions are very hectic! You learn a lot driving, as a junior driver travelling to races with the Team you get to hear the drivers’ feedback but to feel first-hand how the car feels is useful for me but also useful for the work I do on the simulator,” concluded Jüri.
While the Estonian only managed a 1:24.138 lap time with 23 laps completed, making him P20 in the session, the reigning champion completed 28 laps and set a time of 1:20.164, making him P3 behind the Ferrari drivers.
Later on, FP2 saw some minutes lost due to the VSC, but the Bulls came back on track wearing a set of soft tyres. Using the red-rimmed set, Verstappen got a lap time of 1:20.006, while Checo’s best time was only 0.620s slower than his teammate with a lap time of 1:20.626.
“Overall it’s been a good day, the long runs look positive so we can be happy with that. It has been a bit tricky to find the right balance with the heat and we still have a lot of work to do over one lap.
“It’s tough on the tyres around here, we are not on top of that just yet but at least we know the weather will be consistent tomorrow. I’m looking forward to pushing hard as a Team come qualifying tomorrow. It was also good to have Jüri with us in FP1, I hope he enjoyed his first session in the RB18,” said Max.
Meanwhile, Perez did feel the effects of missing one free practice session: “everything comes fast when you miss a session, I was getting up to speed this afternoon and experiencing the tyre degradation - it means you basically have two laps because it is not a track that helps you with the tyres. You have one lap to read the balance and then after that you are just getting up to speed, but you don’t have great grip.
“I was able to get a read on the long runs and hopefully overnight I can find the time I need to be in contention for the fight for pole. I will do some extra work on low fuel in the morning during FP3 to see which direction to take but we are confident we know.
“It was nice to be able to lend my car to Jüri for the morning, I think he had a good time out there and did some important work for the team.”