Windsor sees 'brave' Verstappen: But it was not good news for Max'

Windsor sees 'brave' Verstappen: "But it was not good news for Max'

23 July - 08:46 Last update: 12:15

Peter Windsor was struck by how fast Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez were on the straights in France on Friday. The RB18s were much quicker at full throttle, but ultimately that did not translate into a strong, competitive time on the timesheet. Both Red Bull drivers were certainly no match for the speed of their Italian rivals.

"Verstappen almost as quick but mega quick in a straight line in the Red Bull. 10kph quicker than Ferrari. It's a while since we've seen a speed differential like that. There it was right from the start of FP1. Verstappen up in the 333, everyone else in the 320s that was reasonably quick. That was backed up by Perez in the other Red Bull so it wasn't a misreading or anything like that. It was consistently quick down the straight. If you plugged into the sector times, Red Bull were always quickest in sector 2 which is where the top speed counts the most", Windsor notes in his analysis on YouTube.

Yet Verstappen was more than half a second slower during the runs on the softs in the second free practice session. It did not satisfy the 24-year-old Dutchman. "Normally Verstappen would say focus on the race let's get more fuel in the car. But I thought it was really brave they put on the radio, and Red Bull presumably allowed that, Max saying to his engineer he wanted another run on the soft tyre. I don't want to start P2/P3."

Not an optimal second run

The reigning world champion is therefore aiming for pole position at Paul Ricard, as starting from the second row of the grid is simply not a good result in Verstappen's view. However, the time he set in his second run on the red-cheeked tyre will not have given him a positive feeling. "Max was on pole in Austria, but a few mitigating circumstances with the Ferraris. In terms of pole and being super quick, getting the run to the first corner, it's always been Leclerc and/or Sainz. Max, obviously that's getting to him and he wanted a second run on the softs. Guess what? He didn't go any quicker. And that will not be good news for Max in terms of going into qualifying tomorrow and the confidence he needs."

Still, at Red Bull Racing they think the gap to Ferrari is not half a second. According to Helmut Marko and Christian Horner, the difference in qualifying will be a lot less. Ferrari itself, by the way, expects the same, said team boss Mattia Binotto.

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