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Max Verstappen

Verstappen warns Red Bull after disrupted Friday in Japan

It was a mixed Friday at Suzuka, with Free Practice 2 effectively a wash-out as Logan Sargeant crashed in FP1.

Verstappen Japan
To news overview © GETTY IMAGES

Max Verstappen has warned Red Bull that its Formula 1 rivals appear to have closed the gap during limited on-track running in a disrupted Friday at the Japanese Grand Prix.

The World Champion did not take part in the second session as rain moved into Suzuka, following on from topping the charts in the opening session.

He led a Red Bull one-two in the first 60-minute session, at a track tipped to favour Red Bull's RB20, which is sporting a sizeable upgrade package.

Although he showed good pace in the limited on-track running he did get, Verstappen does feel the field has closed up to Red Bull in a race he won by nearly 20 seconds in 2023.

"It was a good start for us,” explained Verstappen, who is hunting a third straight Suzuka victory this weekend.

"The balance wasn't bad and that is always a good way to start.

"It seems like everyone is a little closer together compared to last year.

"I think in general over one lap, it seems like people have got closer, but for the long run pace, I have no idea, but I don't expect gaps like there were last year here.

"We couldn't do anything in the second free practice session, but there are still a few things we have to look at and try out.

"But in general, I am quite satisfied with the first session."

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