After dominating the Belgian Grand Prix last weekend in emphatic fashion, the Dutchman’s home Grand Prix certainly hasn’t gotten off to the best of starts.
The reigning World Champion was cheered on by a sea of orange on Friday at Zandvoort, where the travelling supporters will have been disappointed by how little they saw of Verstappen in Free Practice One. The Dutch driver sat out the majority of the morning session after coming to a halt early on in the morning. Verstappen’s RB18 grinded to a stop on the circuit, with a suspected gearbox issue the cause.
It meant the championship leader was making up for lost time in the afternoon; however, the second session of the day also failed to go accordingly to plan. Verstappen complained about the balance of the car, which he said “wasn’t great”. Oracle Red Bull Racing face the need for a drastic improvement on Saturday, with the Dutchman ending the day in eighth.
Verstappen is hoping that a few changes will result in better performance, with the Red Bull ace not “surprised” by his position.
“We missed out on valuable time in FP1 and then the balance wasn’t great in FP2. In an hour-long session you can’t really change much on the car, so we just had to deal with what we had. Today wasn’t great but we’ll have a look at everything overnight, for sure we can do better than this. I wasn’t surprised when I saw the time difference, there are a lot of things that we can improve on, we’ve got FP3 tomorrow morning to try out a few things ahead of qualifying.”
“Ferrari seem to be very strong” – Sergio Pérez
The Dutch Grand Prix also hasn’t started how Sergio Pérez would’ve hoped, after ending the day in twelfth place following Free Practice Two, The Mexican driver did in his defence, fail to set a proper “fast lap” during the afternoon, after being caught behind traffic.
The weekend so far really has been a complete contrast to Belgium, where the Austrian team were on another level. With Scuderia Ferrari topping the timesheets and with the Constructors’ Championship still mathematically not over, Red Bull and Pérez need to get their act together on Saturday.
Pérez recognised how strong Ferrari are looking around the old-school circuit, something he predicted would be the case prior to the weekend.
“Things are very marginal and Ferrari seem to be very strong around this circuit so, as I predicted, it is going to be an interesting weekend. It is a pretty challenging track and I think we are lacking speed throughout at the moment, we haven’t been quick in any of the sectors, so there is analysis to be done. We haven’t been as happy as we were in Belgium so there are things we need to look at to make sure we pick up on everything to be in the mix for quali.
“I got a lot of traffic today, I got one of the Ferraris on my fast lap and I couldn’t get a proper read on my soft tyre unfortunately, without causing an incident. Degradation seems to be pretty high on the long runs so it will be interesting to see what we are able to do with the strategy. We certainly need to improve for qualifying tomorrow.”