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Red Bull's Subtle Melbourne Start Masks Strength

Verstappen’s Melbourne Resolve: “Nothing Crazy, Nothing Worrying”

22/03/2024

Despite a low-key start in Melbourne, Red Bull and Verstappen hint at hidden potential and resilience for the upcoming Australian GP battles.

Red Bull’s first day in Melbourne was understated, yet this doesn’t imply the team is facing troubles at the Australian Grand Prix. Max Verstappen finished second in both FP1 and FP2, trailing behind Lando Norris and then Charles Leclerc, expressing satisfaction despite tumultuous sessions following a driving error.

“Unfortunately, it was a bit complicated due to what happened during FP1,” Verstappen stated, ending just shy of four-tenths of a second behind Charles Leclerc in his Ferrari.

“I pushed too hard and damaged the floor, as well as the chassis, so it took a bit of time to fix that, unfortunately, losing about 20 minutes. But we quickly caught up with the team.”

“So, I still more or less completed the program. On the long runs, I would have liked perhaps a few more laps but we missed out on 20 minutes, that’s just how it goes.”

Verstappen has effortlessly secured pole position in the first two races, but Leclerc’s performance in FP2 hints at a tighter battle between Red Bull and Ferrari.

“Everything was fine, I think Ferrari is fast but from our side, there are also some additional things we can fine-tune. So, nothing crazy and nothing worrying. But yes, they seem to have taken an extra step since the last Grand Prix.”

Pérez notes there’s “still work” to be done

Sergio Pérez was also generally competitive, albeit slightly behind his leader, hoping for less degradation in the race: “As usual, Melbourne is quite challenging, especially in the afternoon. Visibility is very poor with the sun in your eyes, making it really hard to see.”

“Overall, I think we have work to do. I think the degradation wasn’t very good on the long runs, so there’s work to be done, and we’ll go from there for the rest of the weekend.”

Pérez is wary of Ferrari’s performance this weekend: “They’ve been quite strong, I think, on this track, which seems to suit them better. They’ve also been very strong on the long tracks, so I think they’ll be tough to beat this weekend.”

Asked whether the Italian team could pose a real threat for pole position and victory this weekend, the Mexican added: “Yes, I think so. I think they are generally quite fast, so it will be interesting.”

Red Bull’s Subtle Melbourne Start Masks Strength. Red Bull’s Subtle Melbourne Start Masks Strength

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