Max prepared for another ‘lonely’ Sunday

Jon Wilde
Max Verstappen Red Bull

Max Verstappen fears another “lonely” Sunday afternoon at Silverstone in the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix.

The Dutchman ran all by himself in third position for most of last weekend’s British Grand Prix, relieving the monotony by reminding his race engineer to keep hydrated.

A relatively boring race for the Red Bull driver sparked into life on the last lap when he nearly ‘lucked in’ to a victory when Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas both suffered punctures, eventually finishing in P2 behind the World Champion.

But having not got within half a second of either Mercedes in the two Friday practice sessions for the second leg of the Silverstone double-header, Verstappen suspects it could be a case of déjà vu from last Sunday.

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“I think it could be quite close in qualifying with the group behind but then in the race it could be quite lonely again,” said Verstappen…who clearly does not expect his team-mate Alex Albon to keep up with him!

“We did everything we wanted to today so I’m pretty pleased with that and overall it has been alright.

“The gap to Mercedes last weekend was big, so of course I think it’s quite normal that we can’t magically change things within a few days but we are doing what we can.

“We tried a few things with the car, I think some were really decent, but we will of course have to go through it properly tonight and see tomorrow.

“The softer tyres had a lot more degradation today and I think it’s almost impossible to do a one-stop race now. I guess you will see a lot of two-stop strategies in the race but I don’t expect the change in tyres to really set the order any differently.”

In order to mix things up, Pirelli have brought softer compounds of tyres to this race and Albon does not agree that it was the right move.

“I think it’s not a great choice by Pirelli,” said the London-born Thai driver, who finished P8 last week after a five-second penalty for a collision with Kevin Magnussen had dropped him to the back of the field.

“The soft tyre is too soft for this circuit and I think the medium was quicker today than the soft.

“I think almost everyone was quick on the mediums. If you look at the track evolution, if you were quicker on the softs it was only by a tenth.

“The problem is we don’t have enough mediums and hards for the weekend, so you’re a little bit stuck with strategy. I think tomorrow it will be quite important choosing the right tyre at the right moment for Q1, Q2 and Q3.

“I’m still struggling with getting what I want from the car but it feels like progress. Everyone seems pretty quick, so we just need to do some homework tonight and come back stronger tomorrow.”

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