Difficult Opening Day At Imola For Red Bull Racing

Jarrod Partridge


(Photo courtesy Red Bull Racing press office)

After making a fast start in Bahrain, Red Bull Racing have endured a difficult opening day at Imola as Sergio Perez crashed out of FP1, before a driveshaft issue cost Max Verstappen most of FP2.

Although Mercedes topped the timesheets on the opening day, the Red Bulls will look to make a charge in qualifying and regain the ascendancy.

Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon Make Contact

After a drama-filled time as teammates who often came together on track, tension filled the air at Imola after the two came together in FP1 at Imola.

However, with no radio communications due to a technical issue, the incident was merely a misunderstanding explained Sergio Perez.

“It was definitely good to get a decent amount of laps in the second session today and to get a feel for the car on a different track. The track conditions are obviously very different here compared to Bahrain so I’m just learning how the car behaves on different tracks. We’ve learnt a lot today as a Team and for every lap I do, I learn a few tricks here and there. The race pace seems to be strong and the car felt good, hopefully we can pull it all together in qualifying tomorrow. With the incident this morning, we didn’t have radio so I think there was a miscommunication through there and I think it was just bad timing.”

His sentiments were echoed by his former teammate Esteban Ocon, who added “We’ve made a positive start to the weekend even with this morning’s incident. Fortunately for Sergio [Perez] and I, we didn’t lose too much track time, which is important with the one-hour sessions. The incident was unfortunate, but we were able to put it behind us and move on to the afternoon. The mechanics did a great job in turning the car around on time, so thanks to them for their quick and solid work. I think we have a solid base to work from. There are still some things to tweak with the balance, but the car behaves quite well here and I’m looking forward to pushing on over the next two days.”

Driveshaft Issue Cuts Max Verstappen’s Day Short

A driveshaft issue in FP2 meant Max Verstappen couldn’t complete a full qualifying simulation, which could put him on the back foot in tomorrow’s qualifying session.

“I like Italy. The food is good and I enjoy being here but we don’t seem to have been that lucky with the driving here recently, so hopefully that will change. I had a driveshaft issue so we had to stop the car in FP2 and it wasn’t the easiest to get the car back to the pits so I couldn’t get back out on track. The car felt alright in FP1 and it is difficult to say how the second session would have been but we will still be able to look at the data and see what we can do better for tomorrow in terms of balance. Of course it would have been better to have the session but I don’t think missing running in FP2 is the end of the world as we know what we need to do tomorrow. We just have to focus on ourselves and make sure we get the best out of our package,” concluded Verstappen.

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