While just about every driver is relishing the challenges of the Jeddah Corniche Circuit, including Max Verstappen, the Dutchman was left wondering what traffic will be like in qualifying on Saturday.
Verstappen leads the Drivers’ Standings by eight points ahead of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix on Sunday, but was left watching title rival Lewis Hamilton set the pace and claim top spot in both FP1 and FP2 on Friday.
The Dutch ace is remaining poker-faced despite the concerns he should have of a resurgent Hamilton and revealed little in his summary of the day’s proceedings.
“Overall, it’s a really cool track, there are a lot of fast corners and it’s fun to drive,” reported Verstappen. “We struggled to get heat into the tyres in FP2, which we will of course look into.
Verstappen: Anything can happen but we’ll push hard and give it everything
“Then we made a few changes from FP1 to FP2 which didn’t quite work but hopefully, we can find the right balance come qualifying tomorrow. There are of course a lot of things to work on and improve so we’ll see what we can do to get more pace out of the car overnight.
“Looking ahead to qualifying, I think it might be quite difficult with the traffic but in general, it’s hard to tell how Saturday is going to go as anything can happen but we’ll push hard and give it everything,” added Verstappen.
In the sister car, veteran Sergio Perez was half a second shy of his teammate, the Mexican summarized his day: “It was a lot of fun out there today, it’s a really nice circuit, it is very fast and enjoyable to drive. It is going to be tricky in qualifying with traffic management, we saw that a bit when everyone was on the soft tyre at the end of FP2.
Perez: It is going to be hard to achieve the perfect lap out there
“I think it will be an interesting race because this track is challenging, if you make a mistake it can be extremely costly. In qualifying, it will all be about trying to be in the right place at the right time.
“On the long runs we didn’t have enough laps to get a real read on how we will perform so I don’t think my time on the soft tyres was reflective on where we actually are.
“I think there is plenty more to come from the car, so hopefully we can find the right balance and pace to be in contention in qualifying.
“It is going to be hard to achieve the perfect lap out there but we also have a long race ahead of us on Sunday and anything can happen. We just have to stay up there and be on it as much as possible,” added Perez.
— Red Bull Racing Honda (@redbullracing) December 3, 2021