Max Verstappen has called for Red Bull to focus on improving its own race pace due to the high levels of tyre degradation experienced during Friday F1 practice for the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Verstappen was sixth fastest in FP1 but enjoyed a stronger second session splitting the Mercedes for second place.

Impressively, Verstappen’s fastest time of the day was set on the medium tyre as opposed to Hamilton on the soft tyre, with over 0.3s separating the pair come the chequered flag.

Tyre degradation appeared to be high during Friday practice and the Dutchman says Red Bull needs to focus on getting on top of that, rather than focusing on one-lap pace if it is to beat Mercedes this weekend.

“It will become clearer but you can clearly see they’re quick again,” Verstappen said. “There’s no surprise by that but from our side, we just need to focus on getting an even better balance in the car and then just focus on the race because the tyres here they’re quite tricky, there’s a lot of degradation lap after lap.

“There are still a few things to look into for qualifying performance but also you don’t want to fully focus on qualifying because like I said the race is quite aggressive on tyres.”

Red Bull spent most of the first session conducting aero tests and running on Pirelli's 2021 development tyres, which all teams were forced to complete at least six timed laps on in each session on Friday.

Verstappen admits the results of the tests weren’t as Red Bull expected.

“Well the first one I didn’t do a lot of running as we had some testings on the car and they didn’t seem to do what we wanted so I lost quite a bit of laps there but the second practice was alright I think so quite a few things to understand but it’s been a positive Friday in general,” Verstappen added.




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