Verstappen enjoys Friday practice after topping FP2 while team mate Perez laments tough start in Miami
Red Bull’s duelling drivers had contrasting fortunes on the opening day of practice for the 2023 Miami Grand Prix as FP2 leader Max Verstappen said he had a "good day" and team mate Sergio Perez said he struggled throughout.
After George Russell led FP1 ahead of Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, Verstappen returned to the top of the timesheets in FP2 with a blistering effort ahead of Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz and his team mate Charles Leclerc, who crashed late in FP2 to bring out a red flag.
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“I think it was a good day," said the reigning champion. "Initially I think it was getting used to the track a bit with the new tarmac, I think it was really ramping up a lot throughout the day, but always felt good in the car and we had good balance out there."
He added: "It’s still slippery off-line. I think on the driving line it is quite okay, but as soon as you go a little off-line, it is a lot less grip. But it is the same for everyone, but most importantly today we had a good balance in the car to start with, so I felt happy."
The Dutchman, who finished fourth and between the Ferraris in FP1, conceded that there was homework to do – adding that the skies could throw up some surprises later in the weekend.
“I mean there’s still a few little things we want to look at,” continued Verstappen. “Ideally you want to be faster in every single corner, but that’s not always possible. We also have to see what the weather will do, but overall, a positive day.”
As for Sergio Perez, who finished 11th in FP1 and improved to P4 in FP2, the Mexican driver was less happy, as he lamented a lack of grip and called his flying effort a “pretty bad” one given a lock-up in the final corner in second practice.
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“I haven’t had the greatest of Fridays but my [FP2] lap was also pretty bad," said Perez. "I locked up on the final corner, so there is quite a bit to come. I think together, with my driving, I am not driving really well today so I think that, if I’m able to improve my driving and get myself a bit more comfortable, it should be alright.
“We’ve been trying a few [things] with the mechanical balance, and yeah, I think we learned quite a bit, and in the long run I don’t think we managed to get a read because of the very few laps that we ended up doing out there. But generally I think we got a good baseline.”
There’s still plenty of running to go with FP3 and qualifying on Saturday as Perez aims to bridge the six-point gap to Verstappen this weekend in Miami – but rain could threaten Red Bull's winning streak.
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