Red Bull off the pace in Imola, but will be compeititve, says Verstappen

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Reigning world champion Max Verstappen did not hide the difficulties that hindered his team's work on the opening day of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, but he sounded an optimistic voice when he was asked of the remainder of the weekend.

The three-time world champion had a troubled day behind the wheel of the RB20 as he struggled for balance all day long. The Dutchman conceded that his car was not stable enough on the opening day which meant that he found himself off the track on multiple occasions across the two practice sessions.

Expanding on the difficulties, the Dutch driver said: “It was a difficult day today. It was tricky to get a good balance and we were not really feeling comfortable within the car. It was moving around a lot and was very easy to lose the car at some points on the track. There are a few things we have to look at after today as our performance wasn’t as good as expected and we were not comfortable.

"We also struggled on the long runs, so there are definitely a few things to improve on if we are going to be competitive in qualifying. Today we were just off the pace, however this is still the practice session so we will look at what we can do ahead of tomorrow and see how the weekend goes."

His team-mate Sergio Perez looked to be close to the reigning world champion in both sessions, but he noted that the wind made a massive difference on his car's behaviour.

“Imola is a tricky circuit and an old-school track but it’s important to keep our head down. The conditions were tricky at times today with the wind, and we have some work to do to make sure we are able to take the maximum out of the car moving forwards but hopefully we will be in a stronger position tomorrow.

"Qualifying will be really important so hopefully we will have good luck tomorrow, but I believe we are in the fight and in the mix this weekend," added Perez.