RACE DEBRIEF

    Max Verstappen had no complaints after he completed a Friday practice clean sweep at the revised Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya – the reigning double world champion declaring himself happy with his pace on both short and long runs.

    Verstappen kicked off his weekend by setting the pace in FP1 with a time of 1m 14.606s, before lowering the benchmark to a 1m 13.907s in FP2, ending the day just under two-tenths clear of nearest rival Fernando Alonso.

    FP2: Verstappen edges out Alonso during second Barcelona practice session

    After stepping out of the car to speak to the media, Verstappen offered up a positive initial assessment and declared that “everything looked quite good” on his side.

    “We had a good day today,” Verstappen reflected. “The car was in a good window, of course we will try to fine tune a few things here and there, but the short runs and long runs look good.

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    Verstappen topped both of Friday’s practice sessions in Barcelona

    “The last two corners are better and more fun to drive; F1 cars feel much better at high speed. I tried to follow a few cars through there as well and it seemed okay – I’m positively surprised by the overtaking opportunities.”

    He added: “From my side, I felt very comfortable in the car, looking after the tyres. I still need to look at the lap times of others, but from our side it was a good day.”

    READ MORE: Alonso taking energy from vocal home crowd as he looks to ‘put on a good show’ following P2 in Friday practice

    Sergio Perez ended the day fourth in the sister Red Bull, some three-tenths down on Verstappen, as he looks to “turn up a gear” ahead of qualifying, while pointing to the tyres as a crucial factor around the altered layout.

    “We always try a lot of stuff in Barcelona, because it is always the most representative track we visit and really puts the whole season together,” said Perez.

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    Perez ended the opening day three-tenths down on team mate Verstappen

    “The new variation on the last two corners is quite tough on the neck, but obviously it was a very short day and I think we will feel it more on Sunday – it could be tricky on the muscles!

    “Today was a good day, there is plenty of information for us to look at overnight. All in all, I think there were lots of positives to take, but we have to turn up a gear for quali, as well as try to understand the tyres for the long run – this will be key for Sunday with the tyre degradation around this track.”

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