Verstappen hoping to fight with Williams in qualifying

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MONTMELO – Max Verstappen has set his sights on qualifying in the top six for the Spanish Grand Prix on Saturday after an impressive display during the first two practice sessions of the weekend.

Verstappen finished sixth in both sessions for Toro Rosso on Friday despite the team not bringing any major updates to the race unlike a number of its rivals.

However, Verstappen believes that the nature of the circuit and the easier engine management has benefitted Toro Rosso so far this weekend.

“We kind of knew this track would suit our car,” Verstappen said. “Some medium-speed and high-speed corners, that’s where our car is performing, and I think this track is not so much engine related, not as much as Bahrain and China. It just helps us.

“You still have to wait and see what the Mercedes engine [teams] do in qualifying, but I think the margin we have so far compared to the other teams is quite good, so I’m quite confident for tomorrow.”

When asked to set a target for qualifying on Saturday, Verstappen said that reaching Q3 would be the main aim, but also said that he thought Toro Rosso could fight with Williams for grid position.

“For sure, Q3,” the Dutchman said. “Of course, normally Mercedes and Ferrari will be in front anyway.

“Williams, I think we can maybe challenge, so I’m looking forward to that. I would be really happy with that.”

Verstappen has reached Q3 just once so far this season, qualifying sixth for the Malaysian Grand Prix before scoring his first points in F1 in the race the following day.