Verstappen not surprised to be behind after FP1 woes

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Max Verstappen’s race weekend got off to a disappointing start in Baku on Friday, completing a limited number of laps out on the track before an oil leak sidelined him for the remainder of the morning session.

Although he was able to post the seventh fastest time in the afternoon after his car was repaired, Verstappen admitted that the loss of track time in the morning had inevitably put him on the back foot this weekend.

“Yes of course, if you don’t do that many laps in the first free practice – only three and they’re not on the limit – you miss a little bit of car set-up.

“From a driver point of view you also more few laps to get comfortable so that’s why the second practice was not perfect for us.

“We definitely have some work to do, but I’m not shocked – it’s okay. We still need to find a bit, but I think we have some very clever engineers up there to solve the problem.”

Verstappen said that he was enjoying the track overall, with its mix of slow tight corners and long fast straights.

“It’s quite okay to drive. Just sometimes the run-off areas are a bit tight. I went wide in turn 3 and I had to reverse twice to get out of it again, so that’s not ideal. But in general the track itself is quite fun to drive.

“Some kerbs are coming off I heard. I think out of turn six, I saw Sebastian went over the kerb and the kerb came up so we need to have a discussion. Maybe the exit of the pit lane is also not ideal so maybe open it up a bit. We’ll see.”

One thing that was noted by all teams was how much extra time drivers could make if they got into the slipstream or ‘tow’ of a car in front doen the two kilometre long straight. However Verstappen didn’t expect to see teams being able to make much use of this in qualifying.

“That would always help but the problem is you don’t have so much time in qualifying, so if one guy has to give up one lap then it’s maybe a chance he doesn’t make it to the next round of qualifying so it will be tricky but for sure it gives you three or four tenths.”

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