Red Bull drivers Perez and Verstappen clash over Imola form: Who’s right?

Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez were both over half a second behind Charles Leclerc at Imola in FP2 ahead of the 2024 Emilia Romagna GP

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Red Bull‘s Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez disagreed on the team’s 2024 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix prospects, with the Mexican much more optimistic than the championship leader after the first two free practice sessions at Imola.

After starting the day a quarter of a second behind Charles Leclerc – who topped both sessions – that gap doubled in FP2 with Verstappen in particular struggling to keep the RB20 on track throughout.

And despite finishing ahead of teammate in the second session, Verstappen was in a worse mood after an FP2 session that also saw him clash with Lewis Hamilton for allegedly impeding him.

“Yeah, difficult day,” Verstappen told F1TV. “Difficult to get a good balance and just not really feeling comfortable in the car, moving around a lot, it’s very easy to lose the car so we have a few things that we have to look at because today, definitely, but just bad.

“I mean, it’s not comfortable, also the long run was really bad. So yeah, definitely a few things that we have to improve if we want to be competitive tomorrow, I guess it can’t be worse than what we had today right?

“So we’ll look at a few things that we can do better for tomorrow, but yeah it looks a bit like the others took a bit of a step forward and from our side just a bad day.”

Despite seemingly starting 2024 in the same vein as they finished their record-shattering 2023 campaign, Red Bull have already failed to win twice as many races as the entire calendar last season, and it’s looking genuinely possible that that could become triple at Imola.

Sergio Perez optimistic for qualifying

Max Verstappen during practice ahead of the 2024 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool
Max Verstappen during practice ahead of the 2024 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

After leading his teammate by just seven-thousandths of a second in FP1, Perez slipped behind in FP2 but was noticeably less riled on team radio compared to the Dutchman and that sunnier outlook continued outside the cockpit.

“I think if we’re able to pick up some nice balance over qualifying, we will be in a strong position for so yeah, optimistic for it,” Perez added.

“We’ve got some work to do overnight, try to pick up the best bits, because everything follows with the performance running and also the high fuel running, I think there is some tidy up to do there.”

“They’ve been tricky at times with the wind being pretty strong and we expect a bit of a change going into tomorrow in qualifying so it will be an interesting one.”

Adam Dickinson
Adam Dickinson
An international multi-award-winning journalist, Adam Dickinson has written for Total-Motorsport.com since June 2022 and also contributes to TNT Sports, Eurosport and the Rugby Paper. He's also had articles published in the Daily Telegraph and several local newspapers, previously worked for Last-Lap.co.uk and FeederSeries.net in motorsport, and graduated with a First-Class Journalism Degree from the University of Sheffield having also studied in Oklahoma. Adam started watching F1 by accident in 2007, catching the last race in Indianapolis, and attended his first race as a journalist at the 2023 British Grand Prix.
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