What happened to Max Verstappen? Imola troubles explained after Friday horror show

Sam Cooper
Max Verstappen in the garage

Max Verstappen spent more time than usual in the gravel at Imola

Max Verstappen has said the rest of his weekend’s running “can hardly be worse than today” after a nightmare time out on track in Imola.

The Dutchman’s two practice sessions were uncharacteristically sloppy with Verstappen struggling to find any balance in his RB20.

Max Verstappen at a loss after Red Bull setup problems in Imola

Additional reporting by Thomas Maher

The ears of stand-in race engineer Tom Hart would have been ringing after the day’s running following a number of complaints made by Verstappen in both FP1 and FP2.

The driver in particular had an issue through Acque Minerali and after going off into the gravel was seen shaking his head in anger.

Speaking after the session, Verstappen expressed his frustration at being unable to find the right balance.

“A difficult day,” he said. “Just difficult to get a good balance and just not really feeling comfortable in the car.

“Moving around a lot, it’s very easy to lose the car and a few things that we have to look at. Because today it’s not comfortable.

“Also the long run was really bad. So definitely a few things that we have to improve if we want to be competitive tomorrow.”

As for his running on Saturday, the only positive Verstappen could find was “it can’t be worse than what we had today.”

“We’ll look at a few things that we can do better for tomorrow but it looks a bit like the others took a bit of a step forward and from our side, just a bad day.”

More reaction from the first day of running in Imola

👉 Emilia Romagna GP: Charles Leclerc tops FP2 as Red Bull face multi-team challenge at Imola

👉 Ferrari, Red Bull and RB all summoned by FIA after Imola practice incidents

Verstappen’s off into the gravel was not the only time he raised his hand out of his cockpit as he almost came crashing into Lewis Hamilton who had not spotted the Dutchman was on a quick lap.

On that incident, the Red Bull driver did not want to comment too much but said it was not the first time he has been involved in an incident like that.

“It’s not the first time,” he said. “You try to of course always to stay calm about it. But I’ve been at the other end also.

“I don’t want to really talk about it too much because that’s not our issue. Today, we were just severely off the pace.”

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