Max Verstappen says he cannot tell where Red Bull is in comparison to Formula 1 rivals Mercedes and Ferrari after a “messy” Friday practice for the Brazilian Grand Prix.

The Dutchman ended a truncated day of running at Interlagos third in a dry second practice, after opting not to set a time in FP1 as heavy rain affected the morning session.

Verstappen finished ahead of both Mercedes drivers and was just 0.134s off the pace of the Ferrari duo headed by Sebastian Vettel, though he doubts a clear pecking order has been established.

“It was a bit of a messy day with the weather and I think it’s not really representative with the temperatures,” Verstappen said.

“I think we just have to look at the positives that the car is working well. Of course there are always things you can improve but it’s a positive start.

“We’ll start over again tomorrow because the weather will be different. I can’t really tell where we are exactly but also I don’t really think it matters a lot because tomorrow will be different.”

Teammate Alexander Albon, who was re-signed by Red Bull for 2020 earlier this week, set the pace and crashed in the wet FP1, before he finished nine tenths down on Verstappen in the afternoon after failing to get in a clean qualifying simulation run on Soft tyres.

“Just a cold track obviously and you just tip-toe around and lose brake temperature, so that’s pretty much what happened,” Albon explained when asked about his FP1 incident.

“I went to brake but there was nothing there. If you do it again it’s like you almost have to push harder, it’s not easy to tell yourself but it’s one of those things and it happened on the worst part of the track.”

 

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