Max Verstappen is feeling optimistic with the pace of his Red Bull in the long runs after an unimpressive second practice.

The Dutch driver finished FP2 in fourth place, with his fastest time being a 1:24.332 in the soft tire compound, a small gain from what he had achieved with the medium compound. Lewis Hamilton, on the other hand, gained half a second with the soft tire.

Despite his results in the final running of Friday, Verstappen is feeling positive going into Saturday.

“We’re still learning and understanding a few things,” he said at the end of Friday.

“Clearly, the short-run didn’t go to plan, [we were] lacking a bit of pace, but I think the long runs were quite a bit more competitive, so that’s also important.”

The Yas Marina circuit implemented changes to its layout, something which the Red Bull driver says makes the track more fun to drive.

“I think it makes it a bit more fun to drive. I mean, in general, faster corners are more fun,” he said.

“Especially the last sector, it was always a bit tight, off-camber. [It] is still off-camber, but the radius is a bit more round, let’s say, so I do think they are positive.”

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