Verstappen: Rain would boost Red Bull prospects

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Max Verstappen says he would welcome more rain during this weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix, with the Dutchman confident this would improve Red Bull’s chances of a strong showing in Spielberg.

FP2 was affected by an early downpour that flooded parts of the circuit and confined drivers to their garages.

Verstappen and team-mate Daniel Ricciardo were the first to venture out on the intermediate tyres before the track dries out almost entirely by the end of the afternoon session. Asked about his impressions ahead of qualifying day, the 18-year-old replied: “I feel there’ll be rainstorms, that will be very good for us.”

Friday still saw enough dry running for front runners to set blistering lap times. Red Bull entered the weekend with modest ambitions but Verstappen was pleased with his performance, as he set the eighth and seventh fastest times.

“I didn’t expect to be that close, so not a bad day,” he commented. “Of course shorter than I wanted but from the laps I did, pretty good.”

Still, Verstappen did not have the smoothest opening day, as the teenager damaged his front wing endplate and spun into the gravel trap in FP1. In both instances, the culprit was the same in his eyes.

“The kerbs are very high, that’s my conclusion!” Verstappen said of the revised kerbs at the Red Bull Ring. “And hard for the car.

“I just ran out of space really, I touched the kerbs and they destroyed the tripod so I couldn’t turn any more. I didn’t expect them to be that hard for the car.

“It destroyed a little bit of the front wing, I couldn’t continue and then lost a few minutes into FP2 as well because of it.”

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