Max Verstappen was 0.283 seconds short of Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc in Formula 1 Friday practice for the 2022 Hungarian Grand Prix at the Hungaroring near Budapest. And so Verstappen in the Red Bull RB18 was only fourth in the field. His assessment of the start in Hungary: “A bit difficult, as expected.”
So far, his team has not been able to find a consistently good set-up for the Mogyorod racetrack. This was underlined by several critical radio messages in Friday practice: Verstappen complained, among other things, about the vehicle’s behavior in curves 4 and 11, where he felt too many vibrations.
“I think this is about finding a kind of balance between high and low speed. Sometimes it works better, sometimes it’s a little more difficult,” says Verstappen, adding: “We still have some work to do.”
Verstappen: “I think they’re a bit ahead of us”
It should be noted, however, that Ferrari makes a strong impression. “I think they’re a bit ahead of us,” said Verstappen. Then a decisive sentence falls: “I think it will be difficult for us to beat that.” Because Ferrari clearly convinced over one lap on soft as well as over several laps on medium.
But Verstappen is not too scared. He and his team at Red Bull will try “overnight” to “close the gap as much as possible,” he says. “And then we’ll see what the weather does on Saturday. We can’t keep up in the dry, but maybe in the rain, who knows?”
How should McLaren be assessed after P2 by Lando Norris? “We’ll see on Saturday or Sunday,” says Verstappen. “They looked competitive, of course, but our main opponent is Ferrari.” And according to Verstappen teammate Sergio Pérez, Ferrari looked “pretty good” and was “very fast”.
Pérez remains ‘pretty optimistic’
He is still “quite optimistic,” Pérez says. For him, Friday practice at the Hungaroring ended in P9 among 20 vehicles, almost a second behind the leaders and a good six tenths behind Verstappen.
The times, according to Pérez, were not necessarily in the foreground for him: “We tried different things today to definitely get a good feeling for the car. I think we have reached a good understanding.”
“Hopefully on Saturday we can show what we learned on Friday. That should also apply to [Runden mit] make little and much fuel noticeable. So hopefully we’ll be there on Saturday. Then we have to put everything together.”