Max Verstappen may have set the fastest time at the end of the first two Friday practice sessions ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix but is not convinced it will be enough to secure victory in Sunday’s race.
Verstappen set the best time of the day with a lap time of 1:12.462 seconds, but that’s just 0.065 seconds ahead of his Ferrari rival Charles Leclerc. His Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez was only seventh in FP2.
Verstappen himself was just sixth fastest in the lunch session when he was almost nine-tenths of the pace of Carlos Sainz in the second Ferrari, suggesting that the day was not easy for Red Bull.
“FP1 was quite difficult today – I wasn’t happy with the car – but the second free practice was much better than the first,” said Verstappen after finishing the track day. “The car was much more competitive.
“I felt more confident in FP2 to push a little more,” he continued. “It was better to drive so you could push harder and get closer to the barriers. Overall it was a rough start but a good finish.
“Compared to the Ferrari, I think the curb handling and camber drops are still lacking,” he continued. “We’re still a bit short when it comes to handling the car over curbs and potholes.
“We’ll need more for tomorrow’s qualifying to get ahead of them,” he said. “This is something we need to work on for tomorrow as you can see that they are very close.”
It’s not just Ferrari that threatens, Fernando Alonso ended the day on P4 for Aston Martin, who finished second in the earlier session, demonstrating consistency and raw pace.
“The Aston Martins are also close, we need something more to overtake them,” he admitted. “(But) I’m looking forward to qualifying tomorrow, let’s see what we can do.”
Perez, on the other hand, felt he was better in the earlier session than in the second session. “It wasn’t a great day in terms of pace in the car,” he said. “I think FP1 went a little better than FP2.
“Following the changes we’ve made to the car, we have a lot of things to review before tomorrow’s quail,” he continued. “I will sit down with my team and review everything because every millisecond here will matter.
“It’s just little things, nothing big stands out at the moment so I’m not worried massively,” he insisted. “Going to qualifying will be a real challenge.
“It’s going to be an interesting session,” he predicted. “We have to make sure we get on the tires and put them in the window at the right time to get a perfect lap here.”