After a driveshaft failure that caused Max Verstappen to retire from the second free practice session of the day, the Dutch driver admitted that Red Bull probably lost a bit of ground to Mercedes in the championship fight.
Mercedes pointed out multiple times that, for the first time in years, they were not the hunted ones anymore, but the hunters. However, it seems like the silver arrows managed to improve the setup of the W12 for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, as Bottas and Hamilton topped both FP1 and FP2 sessions.
Verstappen encountered driveshaft issues during the second practice session, which did not allow him to practice as much as he planned. As the first session showed, the time differences are minimal between the RB16B and the W12. This lack of training could therefore be a real disadvantage for the Dutch prodigy, that will have to compensate as much as possible in FP3, for the time he lost Today.
Nonetheless, the Red Bull driver keeps calm as he does not think that one single practice session will define the results of Sunday’s race. The Dutch even joked about his unlucky career in Italy so far.
“I like Italy, the food is good, I enjoy being here – just the driving part so far hasn’t been the luckiest,” said Verstappen.
The 23-year-old is not alarmed regarding the actual setup of his single-seater and thinks he knows what to do and what to work on, even though he cannot really predict if he lost some ground to the W12 or not.
“It’s of course difficult to say now in the second session how we would have been, but nothing shocking. (…) So we’ll just have to look into what we can do better tomorrow in terms of balance. But yeah, of course, first we have to make sure that nothing breaks.”
Asked if this unforeseen event would compromise his fight against Mercedes, Verstappen answered full of confidence: “A little bit. But I think you know what you have to do anyway, so you should be alright.”