Verstappen says he has ‘studying to do’ despite leading FP1 as Perez describes ‘messy’ afternoon in Australia
Max Verstappen expects a busy evening at the Albert Park Circuit as he and Red Bull try to get a better read on the track conditions and tyres after a disrupted first day of practice for the Australian Grand Prix.
Verstappen topped FP1 – which was twice red-flagged – with a time of 1m 18.790s on the soft compound tyre but suffered an off-track excursion and a spin as he built up speed in his RB19, before most of FP2 took place in slippery, damp conditions.
Reflecting on his time at the wheel, he said: “I mean, to be honest, it was not even so much about the car, it was just very low grip out there. The tarmac seems to be really slippery, already last year, and it’s quite tough to switch on the tyres.
“When you want to go out and immediately push it’s really difficult, then with the interruptions and red flags, like we had, you never really get into a rhythm.
“But we’ll look over the data tonight, see what we have to do for tomorrow, make the right choices, and I think the car will be competitive.”
Asked how the car felt during his small windows in clear air, and around the various stoppages, Verstappen added: “I think it was alright. It’s a bit difficult to tell. I think we never really got into a window where I felt like we were on top of the tyres, so that’s a bit of studying to do for tonight, but it should be okay.”
Meanwhile, team mate Sergio Perez was left to rue a mistake on his first soft-shod lap in FP1, before a GPS issue triggered a red flag, and then lost another qualifying-style run as he tried to beat the rain at the start of FP2.
“It was a bit [of a] mental day. Especially going into P2, it felt like a lot of people still had issues with GPS data!” Perez joked, having placed third on the timesheets in first practice and seventh in the second session.
“It was just a mess, I couldn’t get a lap in in the afternoon. We made some changes which seemed to be working well into Sector 1, Sector 2, but not much to say really.
“I think tomorrow there’s plenty to do, too much to do in FP3, so I think we’re going to be somehow going a bit blind into the race, which should be interesting.”