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Red Bull are a 'tiny bit' off Ferrari: Verstappen

MELBOURNE : Formula One world champion Max Verstappen was buoyed by Red Bull's improvement during free practice at the Australian Grand Prix on Friday and gave a thumbs up to the changes at the upgraded Albert Park circuit.

The Dutchman, who won the last race in Saudi Arabia, posted the fourth quickest lap in the first free practice but was second only to Ferrari's Charles Leclerc in the second session.

He said tweaks to his car during the last session had ironed out some balancing issues, making him a lot happier behind the wheel.

"We're a tiny bit off Ferrari but I do think that we can maybe make it a little bit closer," he told reporters in the paddock.

"But they are quick again. In the long run everything looked quite stable and quite nice so I'm happy about that. We definitely made some good improvements today."

Two years after the Australian Grand Prix was cancelled due to COVID-19, hours before the first practice, some of the drivers struggled on their return to a vastly different track.

The re-surfaced circuit's new lay-out, which features fewer corners and some wider turns, saw a number of cars skid off on Friday.

Verstappen, however, was a fan of the upgrade, Albert Park's first since its F1 debut in 1996.

"It's good. I think the track grip is quite nice," he said.

"The bumps definitely improved, it's smoother.

"But I think it actually makes the track nicer as well because you can attack the corners a bit better now, being a bit more smooth.

"They did a good job with that. I enjoyed my laps today."

(Reporting by Ian Ransom in Melbourne; Editing by Toby Davis)

Source: Reuters
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