After struggling to find a steady balance with his Red Bull, Max Verstappen has rated his Friday practice ahead of the British Grand Prix as one the worst of his season but remains cautiously optimistic off the back of his victory last time out in Austria.

The Dutch driver ended FP2 down in seventh place, 0.830s off timesheet-topper Valtteri Bottas in the Mercedes on the outright times, and was outpaced by both Red Bull teammate Pierre Gasly and McLaren’s Lando Norris at Silverstone.

Verstappen says the lack of pace was down to struggling for balance in his RB15 while also trying to get to grips with the new tarmac at the Northamptonshire circuit following its recent resurfacing.

“Of course with a new tarmac you need to understand the grip levels a bit but it is good,” Verstappen said. “It is a bit bumpy in some places so that’s a shame but in general there is more grip. All the drivers like that.

“In general it was quite windy so it wasn’t easy and clearly we didn’t have a good car balance so that makes it even more difficult.

“At the moment, I would say this Friday is one of the worst I’ve had this year so we still have to work.”

Despite his concerns, Verstappen felt the gap to the leading Mercedes and Ferrari drivers was manageable given how much pace he feels he has to extract from his Red Bull. Teammate Gasly ended FP1 fastest and FP2 in fifth place just over half a second behind Bottas at the top of the times.

“But it is promising that we are still quite close to Mercedes and Ferrari so that means there is a lot of potential,” he said.

Verstappen claimed the first non-Mercedes win of the 2019 F1 season last time out at the Austrian Grand Prix to move up to third place in the drivers’ standings.