Max Verstappen believes that he and his team have enough pace to make qualifying “close” on Saturday.
The Red Bull driver finished FP2 in P5, ahead of his team-mate Alex Albon and just over a tenth behind Sebastian Vettel.
“Overall, it was a pretty decent Friday,” Verstappen said after the session.
“I’m not entirely happy with the balance yet and there are of course still some things we need to look at and do better but overall I’m pretty pleased.
“Mercedes look very strong here again and will be hard to beat but I still think it will be close tomorrow.
“We will analyse the tyre data later today but overall there are no real surprises.”
Albon, who finished half a second behind the Dutchman, put his struggles down to dust on the track and tyre issues but expects to improve tomorrow.
“It was tricky out there but overall today was good and we’re getting there,” he said.
“It’s difficult to get the tyres working and there’s quite a lot of dust down so that’s why we saw a lot of cars spinning.
“The balance was ok and we know we need to improve a little bit here and there but Max looked quick so let’s see how things go tomorrow.
“I think I’ve got a little bit of fine-tuning to do on my side, especially in sector three, but we’re chipping away.
“The Ferraris will, of course, be quick in qualifying but let’s see where we are come qualifying.”
Both of the Red Bull drivers are fighting for Championship positions in the final race. Verstappen is hoping to hold on to P3 while Albon will try to take P6 from Pierre Gasly and Carlos Sainz.
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