Friday of the United States Grand Prix was somewhat different from the rest of the season, in that many of the regular drivers gave up their seats to the rookies to comply with the requirements of the FIA and the rule of putting rookies in at least two free practice sessions. Some teams like Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, Williams and McLaren changed their line-up, but at Red Bull there were no surprises and Max Verstappen and Sergio Pérez were at the controls of the RB18.
The newly crowned two-time world champion enjoyed a smooth day, but without being where he usually is, at the top of the standings, since in the first practice he was unable to beat Carlos Sainz’s time, which was just over two tenths fastest, and in the Pirelli tire tests he was seventh, almost three seconds behind the other Prancing Horse of Charles Leclerc.
For his part, the Mexican was fifth in FP1, while in the second session he did not go beyond tenth place, with times similar to those of his partner in the Circuit of the Americas, although in qualifying he must take into account the sanction that will be applied for changing the internal combustion engine, a total of five places that will be added to your original result.
“FP1 I think was pretty good,” said Max Verstappen as he got out of the car. “We tried a few things with the car and I think we were there right away, so that was very positive, and then of course we knew FP2 was going to be different.”
“They gave me the C1 tyre, which we’re not even using here, so it was very tricky, and a bit difficult to get a proper reading on it, but at least we’ve completed the programme,” acknowledged the Dutchman after Pirelli’s testing of 2023 .
The one from Red Bull is aware that, despite the fact that what they did with the Italian manufacturer’s tires delayed their investigation of the Austin track, the others also went through an identical situation: “It’s the same for everyone. We have a little information from FP1, and I think the car was already in a pretty good window.
“We should be fine, but let’s see tomorrow first how we do on one lap. I think the long run plus a question mark, just because we all missed FP2, but I think it’s going to be fine,” he said.
When asked about the conditions of the tarmac, he explained with a laugh: “I just wanted to see the potholes, because they said they’ve resurfaced a bit in some places, so that’s why I wanted to take a ride, and also after I’d had quite a few steaks It’s good to take a little walk.”
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