Perez takes solace in Verstappen pace after tough Canadian GP practice

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Sergio Perez took solace from Max Verstappen's strong pace after a difficult Friday at the Canadian Grand Prix.

The Mexican's recent impressive speed was nowhere to be found during Practice in Montreal, as Checo finished a full second off his Red Bull teammate's benchmark time in 11th place.

However, while Perez conceded he was "on the back foot", he remained optimistic about making big gains heading into Saturday.

“Unfortunately, there is not much we can read into the sessions today," he said. "To really work the car out you need to get a good base and then work from there, which I couldn’t do today.

"We had an issue with the set-up on our low fuel runs but luckily we managed to figure it out. The long runs were a bit more representative but still, we had a bit of an issue. Hopefully tomorrow we can sort everything out.

"I am a bit on the back foot, but all being well tonight we are able to make the right compromises to be competitive tomorrow," he noted. "Max looks strong so that gives me the hope we can make my car competitive when it matters.

"We will see what the weather does for qualifying tomorrow because that could really shake things up!"

As for Verstappen, he led both sessions on Friday albeit only finishing 0.08s clear of Charles Leclerc in Practice 2.

But the Dutchman is confident more performance can be unlocked from his Red Bull.

“It was a positive day," he stated post-session. "Of course, there are always things that you can look at to try and find the complete balance, but overall today was a good start to the weekend.

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"The softest compound is always the hardest one to nail, so I think there’s definitely more time to find in that. Even then, we have a competitive car so that’s good.

"The long run was good," he added. "It’s still hard on tyres around here so there’s still a few things to work on.

"Even with the things I want to improve, it was still a good day. It’s good to see that for Sunday we should have a competitive car whatever happens tomorrow."

With Leclerc taking a grid penalty, it would appear only the weather could stop the world champion from claiming pole on Saturday.

When asked about the potential for a wet qualifying, Verstappen said: "If it rains in qualifying it’s the same for everyone, we just deal with it. We will see.”