Free Practice 2
F1 2021
Round 3

Another close weekend of racing ahead for Honda at the Portuguese Grand Prix

pt Portimao

The third race of the season looks like being another extremely close fight at the front after a competitive day of Friday practice in Portimao.

Another close weekend of racing ahead for Honda at the Portuguese Grand Prix

Max and Sergio enjoyed strong starts to the weekend for Red Bull Racing as they were both in the top three, finishing second and third respectively in the opening session while Pierre made it three cars in the top six. On his first visit to Portugal in a Formula 1 car, Yuki was 13th as he completed 28 laps and gained experience at a new circuit.

The second session was delayed by 10 minutes while track inspections took place but no running was lost as the full hour was still allowed. Once again, Max secured second in the standings, while Sergio was restricted to 10th place on this occasion after having to abort his first lap on soft tyres due to traffic at the first corner.

The Scuderia AlphaTauri pair were outside the top ten in FP2 but only just in Pierre’s case as he was only 0.042s behind Sergio in 11th, with Yuki three places further back in 14th. Between them the AlphaTauri drivers combined for the highest mileage of any team in the afternoon session, giving us plenty of data to work with overnight.

Toyoharu Tanabe
Toyoharu Tanabe
Honda Racing F1
This was our smoothest Friday of the season so far and all four of our drivers completed a respectable number of laps, with no real issues and we acquired plenty of useful information, which is important, because we have less data from this track compared to others, as we only raced here once before. Also, last year, the track surface was brand new and that too has changed in the past few months. Therefore we will now analyse every aspect of our performance in order to optimise our settings for qualifying and the race. In the two races so far this season, it has been a very close battle between our teams and their closest competitors and we can expect the same again this weekend. As always, we will be pushing hard for the best possible result with all four cars.

Max Verstappen
Max Verstappen 33
Red Bull Racing
It feels great to be back on track in Portimao, the circuit is amazing but the conditions are very similar to last year and the tarmac is super slippery. The tyres have of course changed and we all lost a bit of grip from the cars compared to last year. It’s very tricky out there and not easy to switch the tyres on which is a shame because it seems to be all about tyre preparation and temperature. It’s the same situation for everyone so we just need to make sure we are on top of the car so we can make the best out of it. It seems tight with Mercedes this weekend again and the car felt alright but we still have some work to do ahead of tomorrow, that’s for sure.

Sergio Perez
Sergio Perez 11
Red Bull Racing
Today we had very similar track surface conditions to last year with limited grip on the new tarmac so it’s really hard to get the tyres to work. It’s not easy so the main focus is to understand what’s going on with the tyres. I think the pace on the mediums was good but when we went on to the soft compound we didn’t find any lap time so we’ll need to look into that and hopefully sort it out in time for qualifying. It’s hard to compare with the last round in Imola as it’s a very different track here and everywhere just has less grip overall due to the tarmac but I think we have pretty good pace in the car so hopefully we will be in the mix to fight for pole tomorrow.

Pierre Gasly
Pierre Gasly 10
Scuderia AlphaTauri
It’s been quite a difficult day, the car doesn’t feel that good so tonight we need to analyse everything and see what we need to do to improve, as we’re not currently utilising our full potential. Compared to the last few races, we’re really struggling on braking in the low-speed areas, so we need to look at what we’ve changed. Obviously, the conditions and layout are very different here – it’s quite slippery – so we might need to make some different adjustments to usual. The midfield is so tight at the moment that we have to work on this a lot tonight to find the extra time for tomorrow – two or three tenths at the moment can lose you six or seven places, come Qualifying, so it really is crucial. I think I’ve been in Q3 for the last five or six races so I really want to continue that train and I’m confident we can make some changes tonight so that can happen again tomorrow.

Yuki Tsunoda
Yuki Tsunoda 22
Scuderia AlphaTauri
Today was the first time that I’ve driven the track here in Portugal and I really enjoyed it – especially the up-and-down areas of the circuit – and I’ve learnt quite a bit in the two sessions today. There’s a lot of new elements to understand, there’s really low grip levels compared to Bahrain and Imola, so at first I struggled to adapt to that but I think I managed to learn fairly quickly and my progression through the day has been good. I’m continuing to build the pace in the car and tonight I’ll look through the data with my engineers, analysing the set-up of the car, and then tomorrow I hope to put it altogether for Qualifying.

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