The Dutchman ended up well down the order in ninth after aborting his qualifying simulation run following a mistake at Turn 10 that left him over six-tenths down on Lewis Hamilton’s benchmark time as the seven-time world champion led a Mercedes 1-2 in FP2.

Verstappen rounded out what appeared to be a tricky session by picking up damage to the right-hand side of his front wing after running wide over the kerbs at Turn 8 during his race simulation, but he remained positive about Red Bull’s prospects.

“We seem quite competitive,” Verstappen said after second practice.

“How competitive we’re going to be tomorrow is always going to be a question mark but from our side, we were quite happy.

“Of course you always want to improve and you want to do better but there was nothing weird going on today. So yeah, just have to make sure tomorrow, we’re out there.”

Asked about his moment at Turn 10, Verstappen said: “[I was] just a little bit wide in Turn 10 and got onto the kerb.

“Overall, I think we had quite a good day. The car seems quite competitive, so looking forward to tomorrow to try and improve a bit further, but nothing too shocking today.”

Verstappen ended FP2 one place ahead of teammate Sergio Perez, who is also staying optimistic about Red Bull’s chances for the rest of the weekend despite a difficult Friday.

“It was a tricky day,” Perez admitted. “These days with the limited practice we have, we had a couple of delays in both sessions, and that means we were rushing a bit into traffic and stuff like that.

“A lot of understanding and pace to be found tonight, especially over one lap as I think the long run pace looks stronger. We have to work and see what we are able to take for qualifying, given how important it is here.

“Hopefully we are able to recover the pace tonight and we can be in the mix tomorrow.”

 

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