Max Verstappen feels it will be important for him to get the most out of the soft C5 tyre with Mercedes improving in Austria.
The Styrian Grand Prix was a story of domination for Verstappen, but Mercedes are threatening to come back strong on the second weekend at the Red Bull Ring after scoring a 1-2 finish to end Friday practice.
And while it is of course only Friday, Verstappen saw strong pace from Mercedes on the soft tyre, a compound which he still feels like he has not extracted the best performance from.
That being said, he is optimistic over the pace which he displayed on his race simulations.
“They seem quite quick on that soft compound, for us I think I wasn’t perfect on that run,” he told Sky F1.
“But nevertheless I felt good in the car, everything feels quite good, there are no real problems, so we just need to make sure that we have a bit more pace on the soft because I think on the medium we look good.
“And also on the long runs we look decent, and at the end of the day that is most important.
“I think it will be tight, they definitely have improved a bit, so we will see tomorrow in qualifying.
“But of course most important with these softer compounds is to make them last in the race, so that is also going to be a challenge.”
— Red Bull Racing Honda (@redbullracing) July 2, 2021
In Austria, though, weather can also be an important factor, and while the rain held off last weekend, it is once again predicted for the Austrian Grand Prix.
Some drops did fall during FP2, though Verstappen said that despite a few moments of lower grip, it did not interfere with his run plan.
“I was just checking with my hand while driving as well how much it was raining, luckily of course it was good enough to keep on driving,” he explained.
“But I did feel a few moments where you go into a corner and just feel like there is a bit less grip because of the drizzle, so it wasn’t easy, but luckily of course it didn’t rain so we had a good read on the long-run pace.”
Sergio Perez is also not yet satisfied with his work on the soft tyres, though he was pleased to report a low rate of degradation.
“The long runs were definitely more promising today but there’s still a lot of work to do,” he stated.
“Both sessions were quite tough and I’m not feeling fully comfortable with the car on the softer compound yet. We need to analyse the data tonight to try and get the pace back to where we would expect it to be, ready for qualifying tomorrow.
“We seemed to be quite far away from the balance with the low fuel but we corrected that quite quickly, we were also seeing less degradation on these tyres too which is good.”