The semi-permanent track combines long straights with tight chicanes and each team sets up their auto to maximize straight line speed, although the cars also need to deliver a good ride over the relatively tall curbs. Vettel said. "I brushed the wall and lost some time getting ready for the second session".
Verstappen has failed to finish in two of the six races this season with a best result of third in Spain last month. In the Constructors' Championship, Mercedes leads with 178 points, Ferrari is second with 156 points and Red Bull is third with 107 points.
Before the race on Sunday, the vehicle Villeneuve used in 1978 will be driven by his 47-year-old son Jacques, the 1997 world champion, to lead the ceremonial parade lap. "Also myself didn't get the rhythm yet so missing a little bit of the laps but overall we tried to go through the programme as good as we could".
An opening-lap collision saw Brendon Hartley and home favourite Lance Stroll take their leave nearly immediately, while Fernando Alonso's 300th grand prix was not an occasion to celebrate as he, too, retired early. He was on the back foot when the race began, having started from fourth on the grid. The vehicle is working well and we're just missing out on top speed.
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Despite failing to carry over his pace from practice into qualifying, Verstappen has high hopes Red Bull will be just as strong in race trim versus Ferrari and Mercedes. He has a 14-point lead over Vettel and a 38-point edge on Ricciardo.
The other ace up Red Bull's sleeve will be at the start when the hyper-soft compound should offer better traction off the line. I think it showed in Monaco that we have a great auto and again here.
"I need to look into it to see exactly what it is, but there was a good chunk of time there, definitely in that corner alone there was pole position for sure if I'd figured out how to fix it".
"We have elected to start on a different strategy to our immediate competitors, starting tomorrow's race on Hypersoft tyres, and it will be interesting to see how that plays out tomorrow", said Horner.
"(We're) not yet there", said Vettel. He sits sixth in the standings some 75 points behind leader Lewis Hamilton and with less than half the number of his Australian Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo. "It will be very close again".