Max Verstappen says Red Bull does not have the same advantage at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix as it enjoyed in Bahrain.
The opening race of the season saw Verstappen dominate from pole position and lead home a comfortable one-two ahead of teammate Sergio Perez, with Fernando Alonso a distant third. Despite putting some 40 seconds into the field in Bahrain, the long runs on Friday in Jeddah were much closer and Verstappen says they are reflective of the competitive picture.
“I think we had a positive day, but I think there are still quite a few things we can do better,” Verstappen said. “The long run, I think it all seemed fairly close to each other, but it’s more just because of managing the tires, because they don’t really let you push around here at the moment.
“With a low-deg circuit, I think the lap times are all very close, so it’s definitely not like Bahrain.”
We could watch this on repeat 🤤🎇#SaudiArabianGP #F1 @Max33Verstappen pic.twitter.com/PQDMZkv3J1
— Formula 1 (@F1) March 17, 2023
Verstappen was complaining over team radio of issues when changing gear at one stage, but added: “It’s just fine-tuning things with the downshifts — we do that all the time.”
There were more serious concerns for Perez, however, who says he lost lap time due to a problem on his car on Friday.
“Learning the conditions P1 to P2 — they always seem to change so getting a good read was essential,” Perez said.
“We had a bit of an issue with the car mechanically, which hopefully we are able to sort out for tomorrow and that will bring us a bit more pace. At least we can have a better idea of where the car is. It was a bit of inconsistency and difficult to get a proper rhythm today. Overall we seem to be strong, but the competition is there, as expected.
“I cannot go into much detail but I think we are confident that we should be able to sort it out for tomorrow.”