Max Verstappen pinpointed McLaren as a potential Dutch Grand Prix threat after Lando Norris’ pace-setting performance in practice at Zandvoort.
The reigning World Champion enters his home race aiming to equal Sebastian Vettel’s 2013 record of nine consecutive victories, with the dominant Red Bull team winners of every single race in 2023 to date.
Verstappen, unbeaten at Zandvoort since the circuit returned to the calendar in 2021, set the pace in Friday’s FP1 session but was forced to settle for second in FP2 as McLaren and Norris came to the fore.
Additional reporting by Sam Cooper
Max Verstappen highlights McLaren Dutch GP threat
Norris’s fastest lap of 1:11.330 edged out Verstappen by just 0.023s, continuing McLaren’s promising form in light of an aggressive development push in July.
Norris finished second to Verstappen in consecutive races in Britain and Hungary last month, with rookie team-mate Oscar Piastri falling just 0.009s short of beating the Red Bull driver to pole position for the Belgian GP sprint race.
Speaking to media including PlanetF1.com’s Sam Cooper after second practice in the Netherlands, Verstappen admitted McLaren may again be the team to watch this weekend.
He said: “I think they look quick on any tyre. So, for sure, we know that in qualifying especially a few teams can fight us sometimes and we’ll find out tomorrow.”
Verstappen was heard complaining about the balance of his RB19 car in the early stages of FP2, with an oversteer moment on acceleration out of the heavily banked Turn 3 on one particular lap.
The 25-year-old declared himself satisfied overall with Red Bull’s Friday running – but warned there is more to come as the race weekend progresses.
“I think [it was] pretty good,” he said.
“We tried some things on the car. I think FP2 was a little bit more difficult, but I think overall also FP2 is really difficult to get a clean lap, there are a lot of cars always around.
“But it was just fine. We have a few things that we want to improve and even on the long run the car was performing quite well, so overall I think there’s quite a bit there.
I still feel good. I think the car has a lot of potential to have a good day again tomorrow, but we just need to finetune a few things and then I’m pretty confident that we can be [up there].”
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