Hailed as one of the best tracks to drive on the calendar, Max Verstappen was left feeling the exact opposite after Friday practice in Portimao.
The Algarve International Circuit debuted on the Formula 1 calendar in 2020, and its series of back-and-forth turns through constant changes of elevation proved extremely popular with the fans and drivers alike.
However, something which did not impress the drivers in 2020 was the slippery newly-laid asphalt, and less than a year later upon Formula 1’s return to the venue it remains a criticism from some drivers.
One of them is Verstappen, who despite finishing both Friday practice sessions in P2 also ran into a couple of issues. During FP1 the vibrations inside his RB16B were clearly visible via the onboard camera, while a brake-by-wire issue cost the Dutchman a small chunk of time in FP2.
But, the tarmac remained a major frustration for Verstappen, who said it took away all the pleasure from driving.
“It was alright, just very tricky out there with the tarmac again, it’s super slippery. I know it’s the same for everyone but it’s not really enjoyable to drive,” he told reporters after FP2.
“Of course the tyres have changed and of course we’ve lost a bit of grip from the car compared to last year but yeah, it’s very tricky out there and it’s a shame. Because it’s all about tyre prep, tyre temperature, and it shouldn’t be like that, but, of course, like I said before, it’s the same for everyone.”
Verstappen’s team-mate Sergio Perez had a torrid time on the soft tyres during FP2, ultimately ending up all the way down in P10.
And the Mexican racer said Red Bull must come up with answers in time for qualifying.
“It’s very similar to where we were last year tarmac-wise, so it’s really hard getting the tyres to work in these conditions,” he explained.
“The main focus will be to understand what is going on with the tyres. The pace on the mediums was good, but then when we went onto the softs we didn’t find any lap time so we have to analyse what went wrong on that set and hopefully sort it out for qualifying.”