RACE DEBRIEF

    Max Verstappen believes that Red Bull have room for improvement over the remainder of the Las Vegas Grand Prix weekend, with the Dutchman ending the opening day of action in P6 on the timesheets.

    After Free Practice 1 was brought to a premature end, second practice at the Las Vegas Strip Circuit was extended to 90 minutes, allowing the teams and drivers extra time to become familiar with the new track.

    FP2: Leclerc leads Sainz and Alonso during second practice in Las Vegas

    While the start of Thursday night’s running was disrupted, Verstappen was glad that he was still able to complete his programme during FP2.

    Asked how things felt when he was able to get out on circuit, the world champion responded: “It’s slippery. Of course we didn’t really run a lot in FP1 so it took a bit of time to rubber in a little bit more. I think at the end it was a little bit better.

    “We managed to do the whole programme, which I guess was the most important [thing] for today.”

    Verstappen expecting tricky tyre choice for Las Vegas GP after first taste of the new track

    Verstappen managed to run both the medium and soft tyres during the session and gave his take on his experiences with each afterwards, before suggesting that tyre choice could be a complicated element of Saturday night’s race.

    “I think the soft over one lap is good,” he said. “The long run was a bit more difficult. It seemed like the soft tyre was struggling quite a lot out there, so we very quickly went onto the medium, but it seems even the medium is not a straightforward tyre as well in the long run.

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    “Still a bit of things that we have to look into to see how we can improve our deg [degradation] on the long. I think we still look very good compared to others as well, but I feel like maybe we can still do a better job. Not straightforward to pick your tyres, I think, for the race.”

    On the other side of the Red Bull garage, Sergio Perez ended FP2 in P4. The Mexican stated that he had found the track “challenging”, adding: “The grip level is quite low, so it’s just coming up which makes things a lot more challenging.”

    ‘Ferrari are looking very strong’ – Perez wary of Scuderia threat after practice in Las Vegas

    Despite this, he felt increasingly comfortable as the 90-minute FP2 session wore on.

    “I think we were making good progress which was important I think, in my opinion, so fairly happy with that,” Perez said.

    READ MORE: Sainz handed 10-place grid drop for Las Vegas Grand Prix after practice incident

    It was Charles Leclerc who set the pace on the opening day of action in Las Vegas, with Ferrari team mate Carlos Sainz following behind him in P2 on the timesheets. And Perez believes that the Scuderia could be on course for a solid weekend.

    When quizzed on whether he expects to be fighting for top positions in qualifying and the race, Perez answered: “Well, we’ll see tomorrow. I think Ferrari are looking very strong, not just on the pace but when you look at their footage, their onboards, they seem to be able to find something. But yeah, come race day I think we’re going to be there.”