Max Verstappen said he found it tricky to find the right balance in the Red Bull RB18 given the high temperature at the Spanish Grand Prix.
With an air temperature of 31C and a track temperature above 45C, it was unsurprising to see some red faces in the post-practice mixed zone.
One of those was Red Bull’s Verstappen who admitted that it was “tricky” to find the right balance in the car given the high temperature, which looks set to continue across the grand prix weekend.
Having finished fifth fastest behind both Ferraris and both Mercedes, Verstappen said the team had work to do on their one-lap pace.
“It was a bit tricky I mean to find the right balance with the heat as well,” he told the media. “We clearly have a little bit of work to do over one lap but long runs at least they look quite decent. I’m happy with that just [but we are] trying to try and find a middle way.”
Given the high heat, teams could be forced to adopt different strategies given the punishment the tyres are likely to take over the course of race. Verstappen admitted Red Bull were not yet on top of the balance when it comes to tyres.
“It’s tough on the tyres of course around here,” he said. “We are not on top of that yet in terms of balance. At least we know that the weather is going to be consistent so we can just work on it.”
It was a practice session to savour for Mercedes though with four new upgrades finally seeming to solve the porpoising issue that had so far blunted their season. Lewis Hamilton finished P3 in FP2 while George Russell went second fastest, but Verstappen was unbothered by their progress.
“I mean, I’ve got my sheets,” he said in response to asking if he had seen Mercedes’ timesheets. “Yeah, I can see where we are. So that’s why I said, you know, we have to work a bit on the one-lap pace.”
Verstappen’s team-mate Sergio Perez also used the high temperature as an explanation to his practice difficulties which saw him go seventh fastest.
“Everything comes really fast you know, getting up to speed, the tyre degrading straight away, so you basically have two laps,” the Mexican said.
“Because it’s not a track where the tyre stays new, you basically have one lap to have a read on the balance and then after that you’re just getting up to speed, but you don’t have really the peak grip. So, in that regard [it is] a bit difficult.”
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