Verstappen: ‘Clearly we have to find a little bit more’

Henry Valantine
Max Verstappen at Mirabeau. Monaco May 2022.

Max Verstappen admitted that Red Bull have work to do to catch up with Ferrari heading into qualifying on Saturday.

Verstappen and team-mate Sergio Perez were both in the top four in both free practice sessions on Friday, but the quicker Perez was still almost four tenths of a second behind Charles Leclerc at the top of the standings after the qualifying simulation runs in FP2.

The Red Bull driver said he had been experimenting with different setup options through both sessions, but could not find the right balance for himself – with Nico Rosberg believing that Verstappen was “very unusual” on Friday due to how uncomfortable he seemed to be during the sessions.

But the man himself was more concerned about the deficit to Ferrari, with time to make up heading into Saturday’s running.

“I think overall, we’ve been trying a few things around the area to see how the car was behaving,” Verstappen said after practice.

“I think I was a little bit happier in FP1 than FP2, and, of course, if you have a little bit of a better balance, you can attack a bit more and then of course, your lap time comes out a bit better.

“But clearly compared to Ferrari, we have to find a little bit more. Now it’s all about just trying to fine tune my balance as well.”

One of the big question marks heading into the weekend was how the new 2022 cars would run around the tight streets of Monaco, with the wider, heavier cars and the new 18-inch wheels seemingly adding to the already difficult challenge of driving around Monte Carlo.

Verstappen was one of a significant number of drivers who suffered lock-ups in the braking zones on an uneven track surface that was highlighted even further by how the new cars are constructed.

The Dutchman said the drivers are able to see even less than they did before with the larger wheels and tyres, and driving around Monaco is a different challenge than he has faced previously.

 

“You can feel the weight of the cars. A bit heavier, a bit slower, a bit more bumpy as well with these cars because they’re stiffer,” said the World Champion.

“But it’s alright, it’s okay. It’s a bit more difficult with the visibility but it’s still very hectic to drive around here.”