Ferrari finished Friday at a top in France, with Charles Leclerc driving FP1 over Verstappen before Carlos Sainz plowed FP2 ahead of teammate Leclerc. In the second session, Verstappen finished third, more than half a second behind Sainz.
FP2: Sainz beats Ferrari teammate Leclerc by 0.1sec in second French GP practice session
“I think FP2 was a little bit more difficult for us,” said championship leader Verstappen. “We haven’t really balanced out like we’d hoped, but we’re also trying a few things with the car. So we’ll look at everything for tomorrow, and of course try to be closer than we were today.”
“In the long run it’s a bit better but again, the tires run very hot and it’s very difficult to really judge where you are. But of course we know we still have a bit of work to do.”
Max Verstappen ‘didn’t get the balance we hoped for’ in Friday training
Whether the tire degradation would be as severe as it was in Austria, where Verstappen qualified and Sprint before falling to second behind Leclerc in the Grand Prix, was not sure.
He said: “That, I don’t know. I mean in general this track is really hard on the tires anyway, so I guess you can’t compare it to Austria, but I think overall we all needed a few more laps to take a closer look at the long run.
Teammate Perez was sixth in FP1, 1.2secs off the lead, and 10th in FP2 – 1.5secs – as he had a tough start to the weekend. The Mexican revealed that a problem with his car meant he couldn’t have a light representative race.
READ MORE: Perez looks to return to France, as he insists he is ‘still in contention’ for the championship
He said: “We were basically having some lags, nothing really happened, a bit of a problem with one of the anti-roll bars but nothing major. It was a very short time on this soft tire but that is what it is and hopefully tomorrow we can put all the So together and take part in the fight.
“Obviously I’m not very comfortable at the moment with the car. I think there’s some good work and understanding to be done tonight, and we’ll try to pick up the best bits for qualifying and racing tomorrow.”