Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Albert Park, 2022

Verstappen “a lot happier” with car after changes but Perez still puzzled by balance

2022 Australian Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen was encouraged by the progress Red Bull made on the first day of practice in Australia despite ending up second-fastest to Charles Leclerc.

The Red Bull driver believes he could have been quicker after his final run, which left him 0.245 seconds behind the Ferrari. “I had a car in front of me in my final lap so that didn’t help,” he said.

Verstappen said his car’s balance was “tricky” to begin with, but changes to the set-up for second practice had the desired effect.

“FP1 and the beginning of FP2 we were lacking a bit of balance,” he said. “Then I think for the final run we changed the car around a bit and I felt a lot happier. We were a tiny bit off Ferrari but I do think that we can maybe make it a bit closer.

“They are quick again but in the long run everything looked quite stable and quite nice so I’m happy about that. We definitely made some good improvements today.”

“We went in a good direction so we’ll just try to build from there and hopefully we can make some tiny adjustments for tomorrow,” he added.

However his team mate Sergio Perez, who was six tenths off the pace, was less content with his set-up alterations.

“We did some changes going into this afternoon which we have to analyse,” he said. “There’s a few things that aren’t working as expected.

“So we got a read. It’s been a very difficult day in terms of mileage starting in FP1. But I think we have pretty good data for tonight.”

Perez ended the session in fifth place behind his team mate, both Ferraris and Fernando Alonso’s Alpine.

“We’re talking about a few tenths and we’ll change our life,” said Perez. “We just have to understand where we are at the moment because we don’t really understand what’s going on with the car at the moment.”

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2022 Australian Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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4 comments on “Verstappen “a lot happier” with car after changes but Perez still puzzled by balance”

  1. I like how this season it seems the setup choices are even more crucial. The RB and Ferrari seem so closely matched that finding the right setup windown and tactical choices like running more or less downforce make the difference in the race.
    From a spectator point of view it makes FP1-3 much more meaningful to follow.

    1. Massive rule changes make it less easy to get a set-up right since there’s no real world experience with the cars. Once we’re a few years in, it’ll be back to having the set-up almost locked in through the sims before the weekend even starts, I’m afraid.

      1. @sjaakfoo No worries, every 5 or so years we seem to have a massive overhaul in regulations and then we start from scratch again. In the following years we had a big regulation change: 1998, 2006, 2009, 2014, 2017 and 2022.

  2. Ref the photo, these front wheel just look totally out of sync with the car. They should have left these 13 inch or so.

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