Max Verstappen complained of a lack of grip and balance, after colliding into the wall in free practice one for the Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix
In what he branded “not a good day”, Verstappen first ran into problems when during free practice one he took a bump on the curbs at the Ascari chicane which sent his Red Bull skidding through the gravel and into the barriers.
He was lucky that only the front wing sustained minor damage that was quickly put right by his mechanics, although it meant some valuable time was lost and a fifth place in the time sheets by the end of the session.
The Dutchman couldn’t improve on this in free practice two, only managing fifth again whilst his teammate, Alex Albon was demoted to 14th after he had his fastest lap time deleted for exceeding track limits.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Verstappen commented: “We are struggling with general balance and grip today so we have quite a bit of work to do and it wasn’t the best start to the weekend.
“We were all trying to find the limits out on track and at Turn 11 if you have a bit of a moment then it is better to just let the car run wide as it doesn’t really matter during practice, which is why lots of us were having times deleted.
“The team fixed my car quickly during FP1 and I didn’t have any effects from that in FP2 so there are no concerns there.
“I’m not too sure yet how the tyre wear will be but normally if you have a balanced car then the tyre wear will be ok, so we need to find that balance before qualifying.”
Verstappen and the rest of the Red Bull team have some work to do in free practice three in order to ensure they can protect the tyres, which should assist with the grip issues they experienced as well.
Albon explained the reasons behind his struggle to keep within the track limits.
“My best lap in FP2 was deleted for exceeding track limits in Turn 11 which happened to a lot of us today.
“What we’re seeing is people backing up into you in the last corner as they start their lap and so you get their dirty air and then you struggle to stay tight to the corner.”
Verstappen and Albon were not the only drivers pushing the limits out on track, with Daniel Ricciardo having his quickest effort deleted after he went wide at Turn 11.
All drivers will need to be wary of going wide on the final corner in qualifying tomorrow if they want to keep their lap times and secure as high a place on the grid as possible.