Verstappen says Friday’s French GP practice sessions were ‘very difficult’ as Perez reveals problem that cost him in FP2

Verstappen says Friday’s French GP practice sessions were ‘very difficult’ as Perez reveals problem that cost him in FP2

Red Bull trailed Ferrari in opening practice in France, prompting Max Verstappen to explain why he found Friday so challenging, while Sergio Perez faced his own difficulties in a compromised FP2 session.

Ferrari finished on top in France on Friday, Charles Leclerc having led FP1 over Verstappen before Carlos Sainz topped FP2 ahead of teammate Leclerc. In the second session, Verstappen was third, more than half a second behind Sainz.

FP2: Sainz leads Ferrari teammate Leclerc by 0.1 in second French GP practice session

“I think FP2 was a bit more difficult for us,” said championship leader Verstappen. “We just didn’t get the balance that we were hoping for, but we’re also trying a few things with the car. So we’ll look at it all tomorrow and of course try to be closer than we were today.

“In the long races it’s a bit better, but again, the tires are very hot and it’s very difficult to judge where you are. But of course we know we still have some work to do.”

Max Verstappen ‘didn’t get the balance we were hoping for’ in Friday practice

Whether the tire degradation will be as serious as it was in Austria, where Verstappen managed qualifying and the sprint before finishing second behind Leclerc in the Grand Prix, the Dutchman was not sure.

“I don’t know,” he said. “I mean in general this track is really hard on the tires anyway so I think you can’t compare it to Austria but I think in general we all needed a few more laps to really look good in the long term.

Teammate Perez was sixth in FP1, 1.2 seconds off the pace, and 10th in FP2 – 1.5 seconds adrift – as he faced a challenging start to the weekend. The Mexican revealed that a problem with his car meant he could not get a representative race on soft tyres.

READ MORE: Perez wants to return to France as he insists he is still in contention for the championship

“We basically had some delays, nothing really going on, a bit of a problem with one of the roll bars, but nothing major,” he said. “It’s been a very short period on the soft tire but it is what it is. and hopefully tomorrow we can put everything together and be in the fight.

“Obviously I’m not very comfortable with the car at the moment. I think there is some good work and understanding to be done tonight and we will try to pick up the best pieces for tomorrow’s qualifying and race.”

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