Max Verstappen plays down Red Bull grip issues

Max Verstappen struggled with traction during Friday practice for the 2023 Australian Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen feels the damp tarmac made it harder for him to warm his tyres up during Friday’s rain-disrupted practice sessions for the 2023 Australian Grand Prix, rather than any set up issues with his Red Bull car.

Verstappen, who has yet to win at Albert Park, topped the dry FP1 session before falling to third in the afternoon’s FP2 outing only allowed for 20 minutes of dry running after rain in Melbourne.

“It wasn’t so much about the car,” Verstappen to the media. “Just very low grip out there. The tarmac seems to be very slippery.

“It’s quite tough to switch on the tyres and immediately push. With the red flags, we never got into a rhythm, but we’ll look over the data tonight and make the right choices for tomorrow.”

Still unclear about the tyres

Max Verstappen of Red Bull during the first practice sesson for the 2023 Australian GP
Max Verstappen of Red Bull during practice ahead of 2023 Australian Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

The rain disrupted afternoon session threw several teams’ Friday plans out of the window, with long runs unable to be completed and running on intermediates the priority.

It has made FP3 a vital session as it will likely be the last chance teams get at knowing where they stand heading into qualifying.

“Difficult to tell,” said Verstappen. “Like I said, we never got into a window where we were on top of the tyres, so a bit of studying for tonight, but we should be ok.

Hopefully, tomorrow [Saturday] is dry, and we can focus [on our pace],”

Ed Spencer
Ed Spencer
FIA accredited journalist
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