Verstappen “happy” with “good balance” on opening day of running in Miami

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Outpaced by his teammate throughout the Baku weekend, Max Verstappen bounced back in style on Friday in Miami as he clocked the fastest time in FP2, almost half a second clear of Pérez who was P4.

The Dutchman was pleased with his work and the balance he found with the RB19.

“I think it was a good day, I mean initially I think it was getting used to the track a bit with the new tarmac; I think it really was ramping up a lot throughout the day.

“But I always felt good in the car and we had good balance in it.”

As was the case with the other drivers, Verstappen explained the low grip nature away from the standard racing line.

“It’s still slippery offline, I think on the driving line it’s quite ok, but as soon as you go a little bit offline it’s a lot less grip.

“But yeah, it’s the same for everyone, but most importantly today I think we had a good balance in the car to start with, so I felt happy.”

The two-time World Champion did not seem too bothered by a lack of running on high fuel following Leclerc’s crash. His long run pace looked ominous compared to the rest of the field in the laps they managed to do.

“I mean it’s the same for everyone really, but every time we were out there on the high fuel we also had a good balance there.”

Photo credit: Red Bull Content Pool

Winner in two of the opening four races, Sergio Pérez had a tricky Friday in Miami, managing only P11 and P4 in the two practice sessions.

In FP1, he was over a second off teammate Verstappen. The Mexican explained just how difficult conditions were in the opening session of the weekend.

“Yeah, I mean the conditions out there are very low, the grip, especially in FP1, it felt like inter conditions pretty much, and we were measuring wet conditions to inter conditions.”

Between criticism of his own performance and trying things on the car, Pérez knows a step is needed tomorrow.

“We’ve been trying a few things with the mechanical balance. I think we learned quite a bit, and in the long run I don’t think we managed to get a read because of the very few laps that we ended up doing out there, but generally I think we got a good baseline.

“I think together with my driving, I’m not driving really well today, so I think if I’m able to improve my driving and get myself a bit more comfortable it should be alright.

“I think the conditions, getting a read on these low grip conditions, especially with the things that we tried in FP1, but yeah, they’re all very small margins.”

Photo credit: Red Bull Content Pool