Red Bull Racing drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen had a strong opening day at he Sepang circuit ahead of Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix.
Ricciardo, who ended the opening session of the day in sixth place with a fastest time of 01:36.753s while in the second session, the Australian finished the session in eighth place with a fastest time of 01:36.337s and speaking following the day of action, Ricciardo commented by saying:
The new asphalt is good, it gives a bit more grip which is always fun, though I don’t think I found as much grip as the others. We still have to find a little bit of time on both low and high fuel. We didn’t really find a big gain with the soft tyre on low fuel, so that’s one thing we want to address. We’ll do a bit of work tonight and definitely make some improvements for tomorrow. The last corner is not the most attractive on the calendar but it’s challenging so I guess that’s positive. If you take the inside it sort of washes you away with the negative banking, and if you go around the outside you end up doing a lot more distance, so it’s about trying to find a good compromise and making it mistake free. Track temperature was, I think, recorded at 61 degrees, I’ve never heard a number that high before. It was pretty warm and toasty out there. I think Sunday will be good fun, we just have to keep hydrated and it should be a good challenge.
In the opening session this morning, Max Verstappen ended up seventh fastest with a time of 01:36.973s while in the second session this afternoon, Verstappen set the 5th fastest time with a 01:36.037s and speaking following the day of action he stated:
Formula One is where I always want to be so it’s nice to spend my birthday here. I can enjoy some birthday cake because it’s so hot at Sepang I’ll lose the kilos anyway. Both sessions were pretty good. The first practice you just had to build up to it, especially with the new tarmac, you have to get to grips with the car. I enjoyed the new surface, it seemed to have quite a bit more grip. Before, in Malaysia, we seemed to struggle with traction but the changes they have made here appear to have helped. I also think it is a lot more fun to drive. Our short runs need to get a bit better but the long runs are looking strong. The pace on the soft tyre felt decent, I feel like that tyre has potential on a long run and it allowed me to throw the car into the corners like I wanted to. It’s hard to tell where other drivers are on the first day but Sebastian (Vettel) looks strong, so we need to improve our short run in order to be competitive.