Red Bull say they have work to do to get 'unpredictable' RB16 up to speed
Red Bull came into the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend hoping to put up a stronger fight against Mercedes. But Max Verstappen and Alex Albon were left disappointed after the opening day’s running in Budapest, complaining about a lack of balance on their RB16s.
Verstappen finished eighth in the dry Free Practice 1 session, a full 1.4s slower than the two Mercedes, and behind them, the two Racing Points, one Renault and two Ferraris, while Albon ended up down in 13th, sandwiched between the two Haas cars.
And with the two Red Bull drivers then managing just seven laps between them in the wet FP2 session, it all added up to an unsatisfactory day’s running for the team, who’d counted on their low speed cornering performance getting them on a par with the Silver Arrows at the tight Hungaroring track.
“Not so good,” was Verstappen’s verdict on Friday evening. “Plenty to look into. Of course a little bit of a shame that it was raining in the second practice, otherwise I think we already could have had a look. But a lot of work to do.
“It’s just balance overall,” added Verstappen when asked about his specific issue. “So we need to look at that… but luckily we have a night to look at it and for sure make some changes and try to do better tomorrow.”
The RB16 has demonstrated a general twitchiness since hitting the track at pre-season testing in Barcelona in February. And Albon confirmed that it was that trait the team were still trying to get on top of.
“It’s more predictability than anything else,” said Albon. “It’s not one corner, it’s not a big margin in a specific place, it’s just bits everywhere. So the car’s not quite what we want, and we just have to do some work to find out what’s going on.
“In race two we made a big improvement, then coming here, it just hasn’t followed through as nice as we’d expected,” he added. “I think the weather’s been hurting us a bit, just trying to understand the car a bit better. Obviously FP1 wasn’t ideal and we couldn’t really try anything for FP2 so we’ll have to look through the data a bit more in detail tonight and see what we can come up with for tomorrow.”
Asked what weather he expected to see for the rest of the weekend, Albon replied: “I’d prefer it to be dry. If it’s dry we can learn what the car’s doing a bit more.”
Meanwhile, as if Verstappen’s lack of performance wasn’t enough of a dampener on his mood, the Dutchman also had an on-track falling out with Williams’ Nicholas Latifi in FP1 on Friday morning, after he was baulked by the Canadian going through the Hungaroring’s Turn 12.