Max Verstappen says he had "much better feelings” with Red Bull's 2020 Formula 1 car during practice for the Styrian Grand Prix compared to the previous week.

Red Bull struggled to match Mercedes for pace throughout last weekend’s 2020 season-opening Austrian Grand Prix, but enjoyed a stronger start to the second round as Verstappen ended Friday practice with the fastest time.

The Dutchman edged out championship leader Valtteri Bottas by just 0.043s to lead the way in second practice at the Red Bull Ring and was much happier with the way his RB16 felt.

"We had much better feelings than last Friday. We learned more about the car," Verstappen said.

"We weren't so happy last week, that's why we tried to fix some things.

"So far, it's much better. The direction we took seems to be the right one”.

Despite making a much-improved start to the Styrian Grand Prix weekend, Verstappen remains unsure whether Red Bull has what it takes to challenge Mercedes to victory on Sunday.

"I don't know if we have the right package to win the race, we'll find out on Sunday," he explained.

"We'll see tomorrow, but for sure the day has been very positive compared to last week.”

But Verstappen could have already sealed pole position for the race if qualifying becomes a wash-out on Saturday and cannot take place on Sunday morning either, with torrential rain forecast over the next 24 hours.

"For now, I am the provisional pole," he added. "We'll see tomorrow if we can do the qualifying. But I think if we can't do it, we'll do it on Sunday morning.”

Teammate Alex Albon endured a trickier day as he concluded Friday’s running seventh in the timesheets after a pair of spins in FP2.

He explained the team had been experimenting throughout the day in a bid to unlock more competitiveness.

“We’ve been getting a bit creative and trying some different things compared to last week’s running here, some of the changes worked and some didn’t, so it’s a bit of a mixed day,” Albon said.

“The weather for tomorrow is obviously a bit of an unknown so let’s see what happens and if we’re even driving, as every time it’s rained here it’s been a monsoon.

“We’ll still treat tonight like any other Friday though and look over the data to see what we can learn ahead of tomorrow.”

 

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