Max Verstappen felt that felt Red Bull has made a positive start to the United States Grand Prix weekend, after finishing second fastest to Carlos Sainz in first practice at the Circuit of the Americas.
The second session was largely given over to a Pirelli tyre test with drivers running an assortment of 2023 prototype tyres and keeping to a test programme laid down by the tyre manufacturer, making the times moot.
Verstappen finished FP2 in seventh place, fourth fastest of those on the test compounds, but felt that the compound he had been assigned to try out was simply not suited to Austin.
“FP1 I think was quite good, we tried a few things with the car and it was pretty positive," he said. "We did as much as we could in FP1 as we knew we had to test the tyres in FP2.
"I tested the C1 tyre which probably isn’t the best for this track. It was difficult to get a proper grip on it, but at least we completed the programme.
"Looking ahead to tomorrow, I think the long run is still questionable as we didn’t get the chance to do that in FP2," he continued.
Verstappen added that the bumps on the track surface reported by other drivers hadn't affected the Red Bull too much.
"I did a track walk yesterday to see the bumps as they resurfaced parts of the track," he said. "[It was] also good for me to walk off the steaks I’ve been eating!"
Verstappen's team mate Sergio Perez was fifth fastest in FP1, a little over four tenths behind the Dutch driver. However he faces a five place grid penalty for the start of Sunday's race after opting for a fifth internal combustion engine (ICE) of the season.
"Given that we have taken an engine penalty we need a good quali to be able to start as far forward as possible," he acknowledged.
“We got good information during FP1, so hopefully tomorrow - after not being able to gain as much in FP2 due to the tyre test - we will be able to get everything right and have a decent qualifying session.
"I believe we can go well around this circuit and have a strong pace through the weekend.
"I think we need to work a little on the high-speed versus the low-speed balance," he mused. "We need to improve that to help degradation, and everything will come together.”
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