Verstappen’s Concern: Rivals Fire Up Engines After Practice

Max Verstappen exhibited no apprehension upon witnessing both Mercedes drivers significantly ahead of him at the culmination of the initial day’s proceedings in Bahrain.

The Dutchman, steering for Red Bull, secured the sixth-fastest time during the second practice session, trailing behind Lewis Hamilton’s leading time by a margin just shy of half a second.

Despite his position, Verstappen remained unfazed by the performance exhibited by his fresh RB20 after the inaugural practice day in Bahrain.

Verstappen said; “I think it was not too bad, I think it’s very close. Maybe some people around us already turned up the engine a bit, in terms of top speed. But we just focused on ourselves.

“I think today, there were a few little balance issues from front to rear, but nothing big. It’s just about trying to find that sweet spot. Especially around here, with the rough Tarmac, once you get it into that sweet spot you just pick up time. That’s what we’ll try to focus on a little bit more for tomorrow.”

Verstappen suggests that his sixth position on the timing screen can be largely attributed to his team not pushing their power unit to the same high level of performance as some of their competitors.

He elaborated: “I don’t say everyone around us did that, but a few did, so I’m not too worried about the gap to P1, for example.

“But it’s going to be very close in qualifying. So that’s, I think, going to be very nice. And then the long run, I was a bit happier about that. But again, also there are a few little things that we can do better.”

Although he expressed dissatisfaction over certain aspects of his car, such as its gearshifts, through team radio, Verstappen maintained that he is on the verge of discovering an optimal setup with his RB20.

He stated: “It’s not too far away, it’s just trying to get into it and feel a little bit happier with the car.

“But at the end of the day, you also just want to focus a bit on the long runs, because that’s where the car really needs to work. Of course, qualifying is important, but we need to make sure that the car is in good shape for the race.”