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‘We have a lot to figure out’ – Verstappen left searching for answers after Friday practice in Abu Dhabi

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Max Verstappen expressed dissatisfaction at the balance of his Red Bull after the opening day of practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, saying there is plenty the team need to “figure out” overnight.

Verstappen and team mate Sergio Perez both sat out Friday’s first session at Yas Marina to allow simulator driver Jake Dennis and junior Isack Hadjar some valuable track time, meaning their first laps came in the evening FP2 hour.

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However, two red flags – for Carlos Sainz and Nico Hulkenberg’s separate crashes – meant the action was significantly disrupted and added to the challenge of gearing up for the all-important qualifying session.

After ending the day third fastest behind Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and McLaren’s Lando Norris, Verstappen lamented: “I think from our side the balance was very off, a lot of understeer, a lot of jumping, so definitely a few things to figure out for tomorrow.”

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Verstappen lacked confidence aboard the RB19 during FP2 at Yas Marina

Pushed on how he’s feeling for the rest of the weekend, the Dutchman reiterated: “A lot to figure out for FP3 to be good in qualifying, but we’ll see. I didn’t expect it to be so far off, so that’s also a bit of a question mark for us.

“We’re still P3, it’s not too bad, but balance-wise I think it can be a lot better, so we’ll try and have a look at what happened there.”

WATCH: Sainz crash brings out red flags during FP2 in Abu Dhabi

Verstappen also took a moment to explain what happened in the pit lane after television cameras showed him manoeuvring his way past the slow-moving Mercedes cars of George Russell and Lewis Hamilton as well as Pierre Gasly’s Alpine.

“They have to move,” he asserted. “They are all driving slow and I want to go out, because [we’re] all limited on time. They just keep on driving in the middle and then when I tried to pass they tried to squeeze me in the wall, so a bit silly.”

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Perez also admitted that his Friday was “not ideal” but says there is still some “good potential”

On the other side of the Red Bull garage, Perez posted the fifth-quickest time and offered a similar assessment to his triple world champion team mate.

“We had to do some tweaks to it, I was struggling a bit with [the] front-end initially, but obviously we hardly got any running, especially on the medium [tyre], then on my soft run I had traffic with people doing high fuel [runs] in the end,” he explained.

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“It wasn’t a very straightforward day, obviously, with not running in FP1, so very short running. We know we have to be very careful on which route we take because I think when I did my lap [on softs] the tyres were on the hot side, so not very representative at that point.”

As for what’s possible over the next couple of days, he added: “I think we’ve got some good potential in it, we certainly just have to do some tweaks here and there and we should be able to come back and look forward for tomorrow.”

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