Verstappen: Qualifying will be tight

Verstappen: Qualifying will be tight

Verstappen: Qualifying will be tight

Max Verstappen claimed qualifying for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix will be a tight affair, but insisted Red Bull are in a good place this weekend.

Verstappen was fastest in FP1 on Thursday but was third fastest in the second practice session which was topped by Fernando Alonso.

However it was clear that the RB20 was a handy piece of kit around the Jeddah Corniche Circuit, with the Dutchman pointing out at some showboating by the Aston Martins that seemed to be running higher engine modes – evident from Alonso’s speed trap figures –  at the home race of their title sponsor, Aramco.

Reflecting on his first of running in Jeddah, Verstappen said in Red Bull‘s media brief: “The practice sessions today have been pretty good overall.

“The pace has been good on both the long and short runs and they have prepared the track well for a street circuit. Overall, we learnt a lot and there are always things you look to do better on a one lap performance.

“We know some other teams have a bit more power on the one lap so we’ll look into the data to try and improve our overall performance and extract as much as we can from this.

“Looking to qualifying I am feeling good; it will be tight but we are happy with our performance today and looking forward to tomorrow,” the reigning F1 Champion concluded.

The #11 RB20 also in a good place

In the sister RB20, Sergio Perez was third fastest in the opening practice session, fifth in the second, but not far off his teammate’s pace, not a surprise given his great form at the same venue in 2023 where he took victory.

Perez commented on his Thursday in the office, he said: “I think we are in a good place with the car and performance, it was a very positive Friday.

“We just need to do some fine tuning but I am happy with the window we have the car in, we understand what we need for tomorrow. We have a very good idea what direction we are going to take to make the car faster and if we can do that it is going to benefit the long run and the qualifying.

“I am very pleased with today,” the Mexican added. “It is a matter of putting everything together in qualifying, that will be the main target and we will see what we are able to do.

“Sector One is super-fast and can be scary if you get some traffic there, so we need some clean laps tomorrow, I am looking forward to Friday,” Perez concluded, referring to some very close calls between the drivers during practice.

Red Bull took a dominant one two last time out in Bahrain and will be looking to repeat that result in Saudi Arabia this week.