The RB18 is arguably the car to beat in Formula 1 at the moment, with Verstappen winning the last two Grands Prix and also the Sprint event at Imola.
Indeed, he has bounced back well from two retirements in the first three races to reignite his title challenge, and he’ll be eyeing taking more points out of Charles Leclerc at the top of the standings this weekend in Barcelona.
On Friday, Verstappen saw rival Leclerc top the timesheets in both FP1 and FP2 but he appeared not too worried by that, instead focusing on positive long-run pace that the RB18 showed during the day.
Speaking to the team’s media in the evening:
“Overall it’s been a good day, the long runs look positive so we can be happy with that. It has been a bit tricky to find the right balance with the heat and we still have a lot of work to do over one lap.
“It’s tough on the tyres around here, we are not on top of that just yet but at least we know the weather will be consistent tomorrow. I’m looking forward to pushing hard as a team come qualifying tomorrow. It was also good to have Juri [Vips] with us in FP1, I hope he enjoyed his first session in the RB18.”
The Red Bull has certainly been good on long-run pace the last few weekends with Verstappen taking victory in a car that looks to have got over its reliability woes.
You get nothing for topping practice on Friday, too, and so it appears Max is looking at the wider picture here and on performance when it really matters.
Up next on Saturday here in Barcelona, FP3 before all-important qualifying to set the grid for tomorrow’s Spanish Grand Prix.