French Grand Prix victor Max Verstappen could not come higher than P4 in free practice 2 of the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend – with the Dutch driver expressing serious doubts as to whether Red Bull will fight for the Scuderia in dry conditions at the Hungaroring could engage.
Verstappen finished second to Carlos Sainz in FP1 early Friday afternoon in Hungary, finishing just 0.130 seconds adrift of the Spaniard. But a more challenging FP2 – in which he complained of oscillations he called “a joke” on his Red Bull RB18 – saw Verstappen take P4, 0.283s from leader Charles Leclerc, and also slower than Lando Norris and Sainz.
FP2: Leclerc leads impressive Norris as Ferrari sweeps Friday sessions at the Hungaroring
“A bit tricky as expected here,” said Verstappen at the end of Friday. “Just trying to find a balance from high to low speed. Sometimes it worked a little better, sometimes a little trickier, but a bit of work to do.
“I think [Ferrari] are a bit ahead of us,” he added. “I think it’s going to be hard for us to beat that. But I think overnight we will try to close the gap as much as we can and see what the weather will give us tomorrow as well… I don’t think we can compete on dry land so maybe we can in the rain, who knows? ”
When asked if he was impressed with Norris and McLaren’s second fastest time in FP2, Verstappen replied: “Of course they looked competitive, but our main target is of course Ferrari.”
Max Verstappen: ‘We’ll see what the weather will bring tomorrow’
Sergio Perez seemed to have a harder time and failed to get within six tenths of Verstappen all day as he finished P6 and then P9 in Friday’s sessions. But Perez seemed confident he could change things up on Saturday, when heavy rain is expected at the Hungaroring.
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“It was a day to try very different things, to definitely familiarize yourself with the car,” said Perez. “I think we got a good idea, a good understanding of the day, so hopefully tomorrow we can show what we learned today … but the Ferrari certainly looked very strong today.
“I think there is a good understanding of the present day. We just have to put everything together for tomorrow,” added Perez. “I think [Ferrari] are certainly very fast. Hopefully some rain tomorrow – so things may be a bit more mixed. Hopefully we can be there tomorrow.”