Verstappen: Red Bull’s Singapore struggles "way worse than expected"
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Red Bull have dominated the 2023 season and won all 14 races so far but they were well off the pace at the end of Friday’s practice running in Singapore. Has Lewis Hamilton or Max Verstappen Had Better Teammates?Video of Has Lewis Hamilton or Max Verstappen Had Better Teammates?Sergio Perez and Verstappen ended up seventh and eighth in FP2, around seven-tenths adrift of Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz as both drivers complained about the balance of their respective RB19s. Red Bull had been bracing for a more difficult weekend in Singapore but reigning world champion Verstappen conceded the extent of the team’s struggles was “unexpected”. “It was a little bit unexpected today,” Verstappen said. “I was just struggling a lot with the balance of the car. We tried quite a few things in FP2, some worked, some didn’t. “Never really got the car together so there’s quite a few things to figure out tonight.”The Dutchman added: “There’s just things that we don’t understand. That’s what we have to look into.”Asked if he is still confident of challenging for pole in qualifying, Verstappen replied: “I will try to of course improve but that’s quite a big gap.Related Mercedes have “good platform” after Hamilton’s ‘best Friday of the year’ F1 team bosses remain wary over potential Andretti entry“Ferrari is very fast I think we are just way worse than expected.”
Perez echoed Verstappen’s comments, saying: “I think there is some interesting bits that we need to figure out overnight, hopefully. “We’re struggling with the rear-end of the car, especially in FP2. So plenty of things to look at and hopefully we can come up with the best possible set-up, because we know that qualifying is very important.“We did expect Ferrari to be very strong around here. We are just too far away. So hopefully tomorrow we are able to close the gap quite a bit more. “But we do expect quite a bit of a challenge.”Sky F1 pundit Karun Chandhok observed: “Neither Max nor Checo looked happy with the car. |They were both complaining of rear instability, especially under braking. So there will be some hescratching and some people working on the simulator overnight back in Milton Keynes.”The problem will be tomorrow when we get to the final free practice session, the track will be roasting hot and not really a good reference point for qualifying later on.”
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