Verstappen optimistic after ‘positive day’

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Max Verstappen Red Bull

Max Verstappen on F1 youngsters

Max Verstappen was optimistic about his team’s pace after Friday running and believes they are not as far behind Mercedes as the time-sheet may suggest.

The Red Bull driver topped FP1 before going on to finish P3 in FP2, three tenths down on Lewis Hamilton.

“Overall it’s been a pretty positive day. I think that the pace of the car in the short run is not bad,” Verstappen said.

“Lewis had a tow on the back straight so it’s not really [representative], the lap time. I think [the gap] is smaller.”

Verstappen believes that his team can improve further on Sunday, but pointed out that tyre management will be key.

“The long runs I think I was not entirely happy, we can still do a little bit better,” he added.

“But this track is very aggressive on tyres as well, so I think if we can keep the tyres under the control then suddenly everything looks a lot better.

“But overall a good start to the weekend.”

His team-mate Alex Albon, who has out-scored him since replacing Pierre Gasly at Red Bull, finished FP2 in P6, narrowly behind Valtteri Bottas and believes there is still room for improvement on his part.

“It was OK, I enjoyed it,” he said.

“It’s quite technical. There’s a lot of track, so you don’t know where to put the car.

“The first session was pretty good, the second session not as good, but I kind of know what direction we want to go for tomorrow.”

Red Bull have won only once on American soil courtesy of Sebastian Vettel in 2013, and Verstappen will be hoping to add to that tally this weekend to overtake the German in the Drivers’ Championship.

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