Date published: October 5 2018
Max Verstappen has said he had the “worst feeling” with his RB14 throughout both practice sessions at the Suzuka circuit.
With Mercedes in a class of their own in FP1 and FP2, it was left to Ferrari and Red Bull to squabble over the minor honours on the opening day of the Japanese Grand Prix weekend.
Verstappen was P6 after FP1 and moved up two places to P4 in FP2, but was a second off the pace set by Lewis Hamilton and was complaining regularly on team radio about his car was navigating the iconic, high-speed track.
“[It was] one of my worst this season in terms of feeling in the car, no grip, and around here you need to be confident in how you attack the corners,” Verstappen told reporters.
“Today there was not one lap when I felt good in the car.”
Then asked if he got any enjoyment from Friday, Verstappen simply said: “No, not at all, not one lap.
Verstappen was two tenths quicker than team-mate Daniel Ricciardo in FP2, but even that did nothing to improve his mood.
He added: “But I’m still not happy with the car. It doesn’t really say anything for me.
“When I was turning to the right, I was massively oversteering.
“When I was turning to the left, I had massive amount of understeer in the car, so it was really out of balance. It was like more than 40kgs, so not just a little bit.”
Ricciardo, meanwhile, does not share the same level of frustration as Verstappen.
“I don’t think I was as unhappy as him,” Ricciardo said.
“We had different downforce, he tried less wing, I tried bigger.
“On one lap there’s probably not that much difference with the wing, but in the longer run seemed like I was more happy and consistent.
“For me, short runs we can improve I think, the long run I think we got probably the maximum out of it.”