P12 in FP2 not as bad as it looks, says Perez

LE CASTELLET, FRANCE – JUNE 18: Sergio Perez of Mexico driving the (11) Red Bull Racing RB16B Honda on track during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of France at Circuit Paul Ricard on June 18, 2021 in Le Castellet, France. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202106180541 // Usage for editorial use only //

FP2 was a mixed session for Red Bull, with Max Verstappen going first fastest and Sergio Perez only in P12. However, the Mexican said that he is not worried.

In the afternoon at Paul Ricard on Friday, Verstappen managed to steal the lead from Valtteri Bottas by only 0.008 seconds. On the other hand, Perez struggled a bit during free practice and went only twelfth fastest.

“I think I got a pretty bad run, some traffic involved, and some changes that probably we took a wrong direction with them,” said Perez.

“I don’t think we were as bad as it looked. Max had a good day on pace and yes I think we are looking there, and I think tomorrow hopefully we can find a lot of pace overnight, understand a bit the issues, and we should be there.”

Verstappen was not completely happy in FP1 and at the start of FP2. However, at the end of the second session, he praised the team for the improvements done.

“I think we improved quite well, even during the session,” said Verstappen. “Of course, [in] FP1 I wasn’t entirely happy, then FP2 also started still not amazing, but I think on the second set, the car felt a lot better, a lot more connected, but it’s still really difficult around here; the track is very hot, it’s quite windy out there, so it’s not easy to nail the lap.”

Finally, Verstappen said that he does not know whether Red Bull can challenge Mercedes for the victory, but he is sure it will be a great fight.

“Difficult to say but for us today, it’s good, but you never know what people will find overnight. But for us long runs seem quite decent today – for sure I expect it to be, again, very tight, but not easy.”

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