Verstappen "surprised" by ability to follow through Barcelona F1's final turn

Max Verstappen says he's "positively surprised" by how he was able to follow cars through Barcelona's fast final sector, which could help overtaking in Formula 1's Spanish Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19

Verstappen, who led both Friday practice sessions, was one of many F1 drivers to give Barcelona's tweaked layout the thumbs up.

Ahead of the 2007 edition the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya was slowed down with a tight final chicane, which drastically reduced speeds through the right-hander leading onto the start-finish straight.

In addition to safety concerns, the original change was made in the hope that slower corner speeds would improve overtaking, but that hasn't been the case in recent years.

After 15 years the original double right-hander has now been restored, making the track up to six seconds per lap quicker.

While the jury is still out on whether the latest change will have its desired effect on the on-track spectacle, Red Bull world champion Verstappen said he found it easier to follow others through the ultra-fast right-hand sweep.

"It's been a lot more fun to drive, F1 cars in general feel better in high speed so for me the last two corners are much better to drive," he said.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

"I tried to follow a few cars as well, it actually seems quite okay through there as well. I'm positively surprised for the overtaking and overall, I think we had a very good day; the car was in a very good window."

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Mercedes' George Russell was also happy with the change after Friday practice, saying it has now become one of the most exciting corners on the F1 calendar.

"I think it was fun to drive around the new version of this Barcelona circuit," Russell said. "I think it's gone from probably one of the worst corners in F1 to probably one of the best corners in F1, so that's really enjoyable."

His team-mate Lewis Hamilton added: "It's awesome. It's very fast. I definitely prefer it to small chicane that we have in the past. It's much more fun.

"I've not followed anyone through there, so I don't know how that's going to be in the race. But it's definitely going to make it tough on deg."

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