16 September 2016
F1 Singapore GP: Verstappen, Red Bull ‘can still improve’
Max Verstappen is optimistic that he and Red Bull Racing can rediscover the F1 pace advantage with which he topped the FP1 timesheets in Singapore.
Max Verstappen may have topped the first of two practice sessions at the Singapore Grand Prix, but insisted that there was more to come from both himself and the Red Bull team as the weekend progresses.
The Dutch teenager led an RBR 1-2 ahead of Daniel Ricciardo at the end of the 90-minute early evening session at the Marina Bay street circuit, but slipped back to third fastest in the 'after dark' FP2 as both Nico Rosberg and Kimi Raikkonen went quicker. Verstappen himself trimmed 1.3secs off his earlier time in securing P3, but complained about being sent out in traffic on more than one occasion in FP2.
After its strong showing on the streets of Monaco back in May, Red Bull was expected to come to the fore in Singapore, with many tipping the race to be its best – and possibly final – chance of a second 2016 victory. Although the top four drivers, including representatives of each of the three leading teams, were split by just 0.4secs, the presence of both Mercedes and Ferrari hints at a close-fought weekend, but Verstappen remains confident that he and Ricciardo will be in the fight.
“They look pretty strong again,” he said, acknowledging the presence of Red Bull's rivals, “My second session wasn't perfect, but we were still up there, so we can be happy. I think we can still improve a bit, so I'm looking forward to tomorrow. I think it's definitely our best chance [of another win] - after Monaco, this is definitely the best track for us.”
The Spanish Grand Prix winner also played down reports that he had been given an upgraded TAG V6 for the weekend, insisting that there had been no favouritism within the team.
“It's a new engine, but nothing special; just a new engine [from my allocation],” he claimed, “We had some new fuels so, yeah, that's good, but [both cars] have the same stuff on board.”
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