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Verstappen: We’re quick and there is room for more

Despite stopping out on track late in FP2, Max Verstappen ended day one of the Mexican Grand Prix unbeaten, topping the timing screens at the end of both free practice sessions on the day and heading to qualifying on Saturday the Dutchman is bullish.

Speaking to Dutch reporters at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, Verstappen said, “I feel we have a better balance than last year. Compared to Daniel, I’m able to put in competitive laps fairly easy. I think Mercedes and Ferrari struggle more with altitude aerodynamically which means it’s all a bit closer.”

Last year Verstappen dominated the Mexican Grand Prix, winning with ease and is sure to fancy a repeat performance at this year’s edition of the race.

He acknowledged, “[It] was also better than expected. But if you’re 1.2 seconds quicker than the other teams, I’m hoping [today] should be a good one. We can go faster, bearing in mind the problems we had – which were resolved for the long runs – there is some time to gain.”

Max: I think Mercedes and Ferrari struggle more with altitude

Friday was bittersweet for Red Bull as their cars set the pace, Daniel Ricciardo a tenth and half shy of his teammate – the pair over a second up on the next best underlining their superiority at the high altitude venue which appears to have leveled the playing field somewhat in terms of horsepower.

But at the same time, the hydraulics glitch which sidelined the #33 car for the final few minutes of the afternoon session will be a concern, Verstappen explained, “We still don’t know what the problem is. Something hydraulic. I lost the pressure on the brake pedal so I decided to park the car before I’d run out of run-off area.”

Preceding the issue, he recalled, “Every time I lifted the throttle, it was like pulling the handbrake. Also, I wasn’t happy with my fastest lap but we’re still quick enough and I think there is room for more.”

“I feel we have a better balance than last year. Compared to Daniel, I’m able to put in competitive laps fairly easy. I think Mercedes and Ferrari struggle more with altitude aerodynamically which means it’s all a bit closer,” added the 21-year-old.

Mexican Grand Prix: Verstappen dominates, Hamilton Champion