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Verstappen pleased with ‘more normal’ Friday in Barcelona as Perez focused on ‘super crucial’ qualifying

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BARCELONA, SPAIN - JUNE 21: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing prepares

Max Verstappen was left satisfied with a “more normal” day of practice at the Spanish Grand Prix, with the RB20 seemingly more comfortable at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya than during previous weekends in Canada and Monaco.

The Dutchman ended FP1 in second on the timesheets, despite reporting some issues with his clutch in the latter stages, before finishing FP2 in fifth. During the second session, Verstappen was heard stating that his car was feeling “loose” as he experienced understeer mid-corner.

FP2: Hamilton sets the pace during second practice in Barcelona ahead of Sainz and Norris

However, when asked about his radio remarks afterwards, Verstappen explained that he had been testing some set-up options during both sessions.

“We just tried a few different set-ups out there, [in] FP1, FP2, so it’s just trying to fine-tune a little bit,” said the Red Bull driver.

BARCELONA, SPAIN - JUNE 21: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1) Oracle Red Bull

Verstappen was pleased with a "more normal" day behind the wheel of the RB20 in Barcelona

“But at least I think the day itself was a bit more normal without any issues, so that’s what we were hoping for and now it’s about just trying to tidy up a little bit the car, but that’s quite normal.”

Pushed on how the upgrades brought by the team this weekend have been feeling so far, Verstappen added: “They were very tiny, it’s nothing too big. But so far everything is feeling normal.”

FP1: Norris heads Verstappen and Sainz in Barcelona first practice as Alonso brings out red flags

It was not an entirely smooth day for team mate Sergio Perez. While the Mexican was fifth fastest in first practice, his run plan fell out of sync with the rest of the field in the second practice hour and he eventually ended the session in P13.

“I started the day well, but then into FP2 we did quite a bit of changes and I think we lost track somewhere,” Perez reflected later on.

BARCELONA, SPAIN - JUNE 21: Sergio Perez of Mexico and Oracle Red Bull Racing talks with race

Perez will serve a three-place grid penalty in qualifying this weekend

“Plenty of things to analyse – we’ve done a lot of changes, we’ve explored the car quite a bit, so hopefully we are able to pick the right bits going into tomorrow.”

There is an additional challenge facing Perez on Saturday in Barcelona, with the 34-year-old set to serve a three-place grid penalty from an infringement last time out in Montreal.

HIGHLIGHTS: Watch the action from FP1 in Barcelona as Norris edges out Verstappen

Asked how crucial qualifying would be for him as a result, Perez responded: “Super crucial. With the lack of overtaking around this place, it’s going to be very important to qualify well, to be able to get into a good position on Sunday.”

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