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Floundering Verstappen has LOST sense of F1 invincibility

Floundering Verstappen has LOST sense of F1 invincibility

Floundering Verstappen has LOST sense of F1 invincibility

Floundering Verstappen has LOST sense of F1 invincibility

For the last year and a half, Max Verstappen's imperious domination of F1 has been seemingly unstoppable.

But there were a few signs during free practice on Friday at Imola, that suggested the triple-reigning champion has momentarily lost his sense of invincibility.

READ MORE: FIA announce PUNISHMENT for Red Bull F1 star

Verstappen seemed uncomfortable through Turns 11 and 12 during a difficult start to the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix weekend, skidding onto the gravel twice at the end of P1, and once in FP2.

Verstappen only managed a P5 in FP1 and P7 in FP2, with the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc dominating both practice sessions.

Whilst Verstappen and Red Bull will have the chance to change the car for the grand prix, Friday was a rare glimpse underneath the Dutchman’s usual imperious veneer.

Max Verstappen has made a series of errors during free practice in Imola
Can anyone beat Verstappen this weekend?

Verstappen bemoans ‘difficult day’

The champion was unhappy with the balance of his car, particularly on the soft tyres bemoaning his situation on team radio.

"My God. I don't know man. It's so difficult everything man. This time suddenly the front grips up a lot, I almost spin," Verstappen said.

Verstappen elaborated on his difficulties following FP2, revealing he particularly struggled with his long run pace.

"A difficult day. Just difficult to get a good balance and just not really feeling comfortable in the car, moving around a lot," Verstappen told F1 TV.

READ MORE: F1 Results Today: Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix practice times as Verstappen NIGHTMARE continues while Ferrari dominate

Max Verstappen bemoans Imola pace

"It's very easy to lose the car, so we have a few things that we have to look at because today definitely.... just bad, just not comfortable.

"Also the long run was really bad, so definitely a few things that we have to improve if we want to be competitive tomorrow.

"Today we were just severely off the pace that we need to fix."

The world champion looked ahead to tomorrow, hoping Red Bull can make changes to their setup and performance overnight.

"I guess it can't be worse than what we had today, right?

"We'll look at a few things that we can do better for tomorrow. But yeah, it looks a bit like the others took a bit of a step forward. And from our side just a bad day.''

Why are Red Bull struggling?

Verstappen specifically struggled in Turns 11 and 12, Acque Minerali, complaining of a lack of grip at that corner.

As a result the car was bottoming when he hit the brakes, and lacked the front grip on turn-in.

READ MORE: F1 star causes Imola red flag after BIZARRE failure

Red Bull have also brought upgrades this weekend, making tweaks to their front wing and the floor edge wing, with the floor lowered slightly.

Their closest rivals have also introduced updates to their cars, with Ferrari and Mercedes achieving progress in practice.

Mercedes have taken a positive step forward in both free practice sessions with George Russell finishing P2 in the first practice session.

Ferrari have made major changes all over their car producing a RB20-like upper lip replacing the traditional lower lip, and tweaks to their front and rear wings.

READ MORE: F1 Practice Today: Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix 2024 start times, schedule and TV

Charles Leclerc looks strong in Imola

Are Red Bull beatable in Imola?

A dip in Max Verstappen’s performance begs the question- are Red Bull beatable this weekend?

If free practice is anything to go by, Ferrari and McLaren both look competitive over one lap, and could be favourites to take pole position.

Furthermore, if Red Bull fail to make the right adjustments, and they continue to struggle with their long run pace, it could signal trouble for the grand prix.

READ MORE: Mercedes star in car SWAP at Imola


Red Bull Max Verstappen Ferrari Charles Leclerc Imola
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