Q: Max, this weekend should be less demanding than Malaysia was…
Max Verstappen: Yes, it should. But to be honest I was very happy with how Malaysia went. I had no physical issues there. And based on that, in terms of conditions it should be a good race here.
Q: It’s the first time for you to race on this track. The first corner is said to be a real challenge. What is your impression?
MV: Yes, it is my first time here – but of course I have done simulator work – and it is a pretty interesting circuit, pretty technical. The first corner - yes, it’s fun if you get it right. I hope that I will get it right.
Q: Speaking of getting it right, how did it go today?
MV: First the good news: it will not be so demanding on the tyres here. And given the fact that our car gives good opportunity for tyre management, this should help us in the race. Now the downside: you have a very long straight here and that will definitely not be our favourite part of the track – that is not our best discipline. Coming back to how it went for me: not as good as I had hoped. In FP1 I had some issues with the balance and we tried to eliminate that for FP2, but we haven’t succeeded completely. On top of that, when I tried to do a fast lap the red flag came out and destroyed everything, so there is room for improvement for tomorrow. Hopefully we will find some extra pace on the way! (laughs)
Q: Renault had promised some enhancements from Malaysia…
MV: Yes, and obviously it works right now a bit better at Red Bull Racing than on our car. But there is no reason to complain. The driveability has changed quite a lot already in Malaysia – and if we get that right here we should do well again.
Q: Given the conditions here, could it be that you will revert to the Barcelona specs?
MV: Kind of. But since the Barcelona tests we – and Renault – have improved a lot so it will be more about the cooler conditions here. But in the end it will be a pretty different car – a more competitive car.
Q: It will be your third race. Have you been as good as you had hoped so far? Or even better?
MV: Ha, I don’t give myself a pat on the back! (laughs) But I feel very comfortable in the team – and I hope that goes vice versa. Of course there is still a lot to learn and there is room for improvements, but overall I can say yes, so far so good.
Q: There have been many critical words about your age. Has your P7 finish silenced all that?
MV: I hope so. In the end all these critics didn’t really get to me. I am on my mission – to be successful in Formula One – so I follow my own star.
Q: So what is you ‘mission’ this weekend?
MV: Finish in the points. The more points, the fewer critics! It is only Friday – we know where the glitches are so we should be able to work on them until Sunday.