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Verstappen fears 'difficult' task for Red Bull to get on terms with Ferrari

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen finished behind both Ferraris on the first day of practice at the Hungaroring, a situation he expected heading into the weekend.

Max Verstappen has cast fresh doubt over Red Bull's chances of fighting Ferrari on pure pace at this weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix. Ahead of the event, the reigning World Champion admitted he had questions over his team's potential at a Hungaroring venue that is "not our strongest track". Verstappen has never won at the circuit, while Red Bull's last victory there came with Daniel Ricciardo back in 2014 – the first year of F1's turbo-hybrid era. During Friday practice for the 2022 event, Verstappen and Red Bull were second best to Ferrari, with the Dutchman complaining of excessive oscillations in FP2.

Verstappen reflects on "tricky" first day

Verstappen ended up almost three-tenths off the pace set by Charles Leclerc, with McLaren's Lando Norris and the other Ferrari of Carlos Sainz also slotting ahead. Assessing his start to the weekend on his official website, Verstappen said: "It was a bit tricky today, but we expected that. "We were trying to find the right balance between the high- and low-speed corners and we still have some work to do." As for the deficit to Ferrari, he added: "They have a lead and it will be difficult to make up for that, but for tomorrow we will try to close the gap as best we can."

Also a difficult start for Perez

Verstappen's teammate, Sergio Perez, was more than half a second further back after another low-key Friday performance. Perez finished ninth overall, behind McLaren's Daniel Ricciardo, Alpine's Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin's Sebastian Vettel and Mercedes' George Russell. However, the form book could be shaken up on Saturday, with rain expected throughout final practice and qualifying. "We will see what the weather will do," championship leader Verstappen signed off.

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