Verstappen broke front wing on fastest lap in Austria F1 FP2

Jonathan Noble, Luke Smith
Verstappen broke front wing in FP2 qualifying sim

Max Verstappen says Red Bull's true pace in Formula 1 Austrian Gran Prix practice was disguised by him breaking his front wing on his fastest lap of the day.

With Red Bull having headed into the F1 season opener with high hopes after what it has called its best winter of preparation since it last won the title, both its drivers had challenging times

Verstappen was third fastest in the opening 90-minute session at the Red Bull Ring, trailing the pacesetting Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton by 0.602 seconds.

The Red Bull driver would end up eighth quickest in FP2, this time 0.911s behind Hamilton.

But rather than be too concerned about the performance, Verstappen said he remained upbeat about the ultimate potential of his car having been unable to set a representative qualifying simulation owing to damage he pick up on his front wing.

Speaking to Sky Sports F1, he said: "Yeah it was good. I think it was a good day.

"The lap times didn't really say anything, because I broke my front wing on the fastest lap.

"But we are, I think, confident. There are always things you can do better, but I think overall, it was a good day, and I'm looking forward to tomorrow."

Verstappen broke front wing in FP2 qualifying sim

Both Red Bull drivers suffered spins over the course of the day, but Alex Albon - who was 1.1s off the pace in 13th at the end of FP2 - said he was not too concerned by what he saw.

"Just pushing," he said when asked about the spins.

"Obviously in race runs, the car gets a bit more lairy. I pushed it a little bit and had oversteer.

"We know what we want to work on. There are definite areas in the car, short runs and long runs, that we know to address. Everyone has been running different engine modes. We'll see tomorrow."

Red Bull has won the last two Austrian Grands Prix, with Verstappen guiding his car to victory on both occasions in 2018 and 2019.

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