Max Verstappen is pleased with the first day of the first weekend of the new Formula 1 season, which ended with the best time in the second free practice, as he pointed out Ferrari as the biggest threat.

On the last day of testing in Bahrain, Verstappen set the best time of 1:31.7 on C5 Pirelli tyres while today in the second free practice session on C3 tyres, which are soft tyres this weekend, he set only a two tenths of a second slower lap.

Leclerc was the biggest threat to Verstappen and set a lap 1:32.263, but later managed to reduce the gap to just 0.087 seconds while Sainz had trouble getting the most out of the Ferrari F1-75, especially in the second sector.

Verstappen says the feeling in the car was good and the first day went smoothly and without any problems.

The car felt good today, testing here last week means we’ve all started in a good place,” said Verstappen.

“We had quite a straightforward and smooth day so I’m pretty happy, we also tried a few things on the car in each session and they seemed to work well.”

“You can see that Ferrari are pushing hard and are very close so that’s exciting.”

“Looking ahead, we’ll have to wait and see with different teams’ engine modes, no one is in quali spec yet so I think everyone still has a lot more to give. It’s good to see the teams are all closer together, in general that’s what everyone wants and I think over time teams will get even closer together.”

Perez was off pace in his best FP2 lap with more than a second gap to Verstappen and only one tenth ahead of Schumacher in Haas.

“It’s nice to be back out on track for a new season,” said Perez.

“We have some work to do overnight to find a good compromise with the set up. We tried some different settings across the two cars, so I think we have good data to look at and then we can pick out the best bits for qualifying tomorrow.”

“We are learning a lot about the tyre degradation and overall, there is some work to do but I am hopeful we will have a positive day tomorrow. FP2 will be the most useful session before qualifying because the conditions should be similar and I think it will be interesting to see where everyone is come Saturday evening.”

“The pack is really close and I think the race will be even tighter so there will be some good racing all around.”

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