Verstappen continued Red Bull’s impressive start to the 2021 season as he ended both practice sessions in Portugal in second place.

While Red Bull’s pace seemed to be up there with Mercedes, Portimao’s low grip surface made it tricky for the drivers.

The Algarve International Circuit was resurfaced just before last year’s grand prix. 

Warmer weather this time around didn’t appear to improve track conditions, with Verstappen expressing his frustrations after second practice.

“It was alright, just very tricky out there with the tarmac again,” Verstappen said. “It’s super slippery. I know it’s the same for everyone but it’s not really enjoyable to drive.

“Of course the tyres have changed and of course we’ve lost a bit of grip from the car compared to last year but yeah, it’s very tricky out there and it’s a shame. Because it’s all about tyre prep, tyre temperature, and it shouldn’t be like that, but it’s, of course, like I said before, it’s the same for everyone.”

Reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton criticised Pirelli’s decision to bring its hardest three tyre compounds to this weekend's race - with the C1, C2 and C3 compounds available to teams in Portugal.

“We came here last year and the tyre was too hard and came here again and the same tyre, so it’s pretty much… they’re harder this year, so it feels like we’ve come with the too hard compound, in my opinion, it should have been mid-range, [C] 2 3 4, but everyone’s on the same ones so we’ll get through it somehow,” Hamilton added.

“I think as it got hotter it got slower, this morning it seemed a bit better then it got windier and warmer this afternoon so seems to have made it harder for people to find time and work on the balance on tyres, will be interesting to see if it stays the same at the weekend.”