Max fourth fastest after Suzuka day 1: 'A lot of work to do'

Published on 05 October 2018 by Stefan Meens

Max Verstappen followed his sixth place in FP1 with P4 in the second free practice session of the Japanese Grand Prix. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) was quickest, ahead of team mate Valtteri Bottas. Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel completed the top three.

"We have a lot of work to do. We have under and oversteer so it wasn't a good day for me", explained Max. "We changed a few things after FP1 but they didn't work. We'll see what we can do tomorrow to improve the grip. Mercedes is too quick, but maybe we can be close to the Ferraris."

Similar to the morning session, dark clouds hover over the Suzuka circuit at the start of FP2. Nevertheless, the chance of rain is slim. The McLarens are first out on track with Stoffel Vandoorne back in the car after Lando Norris took on FP1 duties.

Aston Martin Red Bull Racing take a bit longer before sending their cars out. Fifteen minutes into the session Daniel Ricciardo and Max make their first appearance of the afternoon, with their RB14 sporting soft Pirelli tyres.

A third into the session, the teams shift focus to qualifying runs on the super-soft tyres. The Mercedes set the pace with reigning champion Hamilton firmly in control ahead of Bottas.

For the final half an hour, attention is redirected to Sunday’s race and thus long runs. Max is not too happy with his car during one of his longer stints on the super-softs. “Can you guys check the car? It feels like I’m doing rally cross”, explains Max about his RB14, this weekend powered with B-spec Renault. Team mate Ricciardo is running the C-spec power-unit.

The Aussie Red Bull Racer is also using a different set-up to Max. It enables to the team to gather as much data as possible.

Over at Red Bull’s sister team, Scuderia Toro Rosso, Brendan Hartley enjoys a competitive session with the new Honda power-unit. The Kiwi is tenth fastest. His team mate, and future RBR colleague of Max, Pierre Gasly, endures a difficult FP2. Problems with the fuel system limit his running to a mere ten laps.

In the closing stages of the session, no-one improves on their lap times, meaning Mercedes are quickest ahead of Vettel and Max.

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Results second free practice Japan:

1Lewis HamiltonHAMMercedes1:28.217 31
2Valteri BottasBOTMercedes1:28.678+0.461s30
3Sebastian VettelVETFerrari1:29.050+0.833s36
4Max VerstappenVERRed Bull Racing TAG Heuer1:29.257+1.040s32
5Kimi RäikkönenRAIFerrari1:29.498+1.281s33
6Daniel RicciardoRICRed Bull Racing TAG Heuer1:29.513+1.296s27
7Esteban OconOCOForce India Mercedes1:30.035+1.818s32
8Romain GrosjeanGROHaas Ferrari1:30.440+2.223s32
9Marcus EricssonERISauber Ferrari1:30.478+2.261s33
10Brendon HartleyHARScuderia Toro Rosso Honda1:30.502+2.285s27
11Sergio PerezPERForce India Mercedes1:30.510+2.293s28
12Nico HulkenbergHULRenault1:30.644+2.427s36
13Pierre GaslyGASScuderia Toro Rosso Honda1:30.795+2.578s10
14Carlos SainzSAIRenault1:30.904+2.687s31
15Charles LeclercLECSauber Ferrari1:30.906+2.689s26
16Kevin MagnussenMAGHaas Ferrari1:30.956+2.739s25
17Fernando AlonsoALOMcLaren Renault1:30.988+2.771s34
18Sergey SirotkinSIRWilliams Mercedes1:31.087+2.870s39
19Lance StrollSTRWilliams Mercedes1:31.215+2.998s32
20Stoffel VandoorneVANMcLaren Renault1:31.981+3.764s32