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Australian GP

Red Bull just a bit too slow – Verstappen

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Max Verstappen says that Red Bull is “a bit too slow” after Friday’s both practice sessions for the season-opening Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park.

At turn 12 Verstappen missed the apex of the fast right-hander, after he running wide and damaging the floor his car during his first attempt at a flying lap on the softest compound tyre.

“We were trying to find a better balance but at the moment we are just a bit too slow, so we need to improve,” Verstappen said. “I had a bit of understeer so went off the track and damaged the floor.

“I think Mercedes is again pretty quick, so it will be difficult to beat them. Ferrari looks stronger than us as well, so we will see what we can do overnight.”

Asked whether he thought the Red Bull was in podium contention, he added: “I think we are where I expected us to be. We try to make the best of it.

“Hopefully I can get a good start on Sunday. Then we are ahead and then you can’t overtake!”

The local hero and Max’s team-mate Daniel Ricciardo completed his Ultra Soft run en-route fifth, over a second down on Hamilton’s pace-setting time, though remains confident of making gains.

“I think we can still get more out of it,” explained Ricciardo.

“FP1 was promising, we tried a few things in FP2 but didn’t work as we’d like. Mercedes for sure is quick, but it’s more Lewis at the moment than Valtteri [Bottas, in third].

“Valtteri looks like he’s in our group. I think we can be there [in the fight]. Pole position would be a stretch, but we can be in that next group. We’ll be alright.”

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