Max Verstappen is confident he can close the gap he had to Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo in free practice for this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix, with the Dutchman saying he made a mistake on his FP2 flyer.
The 18-year-old slotted into fourth in the afternoon session, a full seven tenths adrift of the lead RB 12 in second place. Both Red Bull drivers only completed one hot lap on Pirelli’s red-marked supersoft tyre before switching their focus to long runs.
“The difference in time [to Ricciardo] was that I made a mistake in the last sector and went off the track.,” Verstappen explained afterwards. “These things can happen. Luckily, they happened on a Friday and not on a Saturday.”
When asked whether he felt confident to cover that deficit, the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix winner replied: “Oh yeah, for sure.”
Red Bull was tipped as Mercedes’ nearest rival entering the Budapest event and appears to have the edge on Ferrari when running on the same compound. However, Verstappen refuses to discard the threat posed by the Scuderia.
“In FP1 we started quite easily and in FP2, it was much better, we were close to Mercedes. In the end it was quite a good day because also the long runs were looking pretty good so I was happy with that.
“I want to improve the car and I want to improve myself as well. It will be difficult because I think Ferrari is not too far away so we’ll see in qualifying what happens.”