Red Bull’s Max Verstappen wasn’t a happy driver during the opening practice session at the Russian Grand Prix.
Verstappen endured a tougher than expected run throughout the two sessions as the Red Bull fell behind several middle of the pack cars.
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But it was during the first practice session when Verstappen was left seeing red as he sat stuck behind the Williams of George Russell.
Verstappen had closed the gap behind Russell, but voiced his expletive displeasure that the Williams driver didn’t move aside to allow him past.
“Unbe-f***ing-livable, what an unbelievable w**ker. Why does he stay in front?” Verstappen said.
The tirade didn’t go over well with fans who couldn’t help but question what Verstappen was expecting Russell to do going around the bends.
Verstappen’s frustration would have only grown as the Red Bull slipped down the leaderboard with the Dutchman finishing seventh on the timesheets after the second practice session.
His teammate Alex Albon could only muster a 12th place finish, both drivers were more than 1.5 seconds off the time set by Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas.
Verstappen knows it will be a challenge to get ahead of their rivals on a track not suited for their car.
“We know that this track is not the best for us, but we were also trying out some downforce levels and seeing what is the best option,” Verstappen said.
“[In] FP2, yeah, I think we could have done a bit better, but again, we were testing a few things out. Some worked, some didn’t, so it gives us a few ideas for tomorrow.”
Bottas forecast he and teammate Lewis Hamilton would be faster and more competitive on Sunday after they dominated the practice sessions.
The Finn topped the times by two-tenths ahead of Hamilton as the two ‘black arrow’ men wound up more than a second clear of their nearest rivals.
“It was a messy day with a lot of interruptions,” said Bottas. “Lots of red flags and quite limited running, so I am sure we have a lot more to come,” he added.
Aussie star Daniel Ricciardo was the best of the rest on a day that was filled with cars spinning off the track.
Ricciardo enjoyed his best practice day of the season after finishing second in the first session before ending as the third fastest driver during the second session.
“It was probably the first time I’ve ever really been hooked up around here.
“It felt good! Was good really out of the box, we didn’t make too many changes today.”
He remained hopeful that a podium could be within reach, but pinned it on the result that would come out of qualifying.
“If we could put it here in quali, then for sure, I’d be confident of that,” he said.
“But I think there’s all the cars that are around two or three-tenths (of a second) of us – I’m sure that’ll be the battle tomorrow. I think it’s all going to close up, so if we can get to stay that tenth ahead, we’ll look alright.”
— with AFP
RUSSIAN GRAND PRIX PRACTICE TIMES
1) Valtteri Bottas — Mercedes 1:33.519
2) Lewis Hamilton — Mercedes +0.267
3) Daniel Ricciardo — Renault +1.058
4) Carlos Sainz — McLaren +1.204
5) Lando Norris — McLaren +1.328
6) Sergio Perez — Racing Point +1.371
7) Max Verstappen — Red Bull +1.529
8) Charles Leclerc — Ferrari +1.533
9) Esteban Ocon — Renault +1.620
10) Sebastian Vettel — Ferrari +1.664
11) Pierre Gasly — AlphaTauri +1.691
12) Alexander Albon — Red Bull +1.723
13) Daniil Kvyat — AlphaTauri +1.942
14) Kimi Raikkonen — Alfa Romeo +1.997
15) Nicholas Latifi — Williams +2.044
16) George Russell — Williams +2.056
17) Lance Stroll — Racing Point +2.108
18) Kevin Magnussen — Haas +2.210
19) Antonio Giovinazzi — Alfa Romeo +2.534
20) Romain Grosjean — Haas +3.339