They would dearly love to take their first win at their home track, but Red Bull looked to be the third best team after Friday’s practice sessions at the Red Bull Ring, with a lack of balance on the RB14 cited as the main issue by the team’s Dutch star Max Verstappen.
The team’s quickest FP2 lap, Daniel Ricciardo’s 1m 05.031s effort that was good enough for P4, was nearly half a second down on Lewis Hamilton’s fastest time, a hefty deficit around what is one of the shortest laps on the calendar at just 4.3 km.
Worse was the fact that Hamilton set that time on what on paper should be the slowest tyre of the three that the teams have at their disposal this weekend, the yellow-walled softs – although in truth, the lap time differential across all the tyres appeared to be almost negligible in Austria.
Asked how he felt his first two practice sessions of the weekend had gone, Verstappen revealed that he’d been compromised by running with an old floor on his car – and was further hindered when he had part of it break during FP1.
“I don’t think it was a perfect day as we had a damaged floor,” he said. “Something broke off the inside of the floor, so my second practice session I had to run with a floor that was a little bit cut or modified, let’s say that.
“It was an old floor so we will put on a new one tomorrow, but today we had to be a bit limited on that, which definitely compromised the downforce of my car.
"I think in general it was not the best day but there is still room for improvement. We know that we lose quite a bit of time on the straights and even though there is a third DRS zone, it is still a bit too much. Still some work.”