Red Bull finished the final Friday practice sessions of the season in good form, although in a close battle with Ferrari behind the Mercedes pairing who seemed too far away for either team to match.
Challenges remained though, with question marks over the durability of the ultrasoft tyre, which could see the leading pack take an extra pit stop over those who are further down the field and the lack of grip was evident especially in the first session when the track was hotter before the sun going down for the second under the lights.
Finishing third and forth in the two sessions, Max Verstappen said, “My last Friday at the track for this season wasn’t bad. We had a few issues with the car today which meant aborting the last run was the sensible thing to do so we can check the car and make sure we are ready to go in the morning.
“Nothing is broken and there is nothing to worry about, just safe to stop early.
“The grip is always a bit difficult in the first session here with the temperatures being higher but already you can tell it’s a lot better as the track is cleaner in FP2.
“The Ultrasoft compound dropped off quite quickly, as you can tell by the short runs on them but the soft seems to be performing well. Ferrari look strong but we are up there also.
“I had a bit of traffic on my quick lap so I’m confident we are competitive, it should be an exciting qualifying tomorrow. Generally over the season we have improved from Friday to Saturday so I think tomorrow we will be strong.”
Lewis Hamilton needs to win the race to be World Champion, and for Nico Rosberg to finish three spots behind him and therefore needs a strong Red Bull and Ferrari to win.