Max Verstappen feels Red Bull need more pace at Monaco GP to stay ahead of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz
Max Verstappen fastest in Practice Two at Monaco GP from Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz; but it was not a plain-sailing Friday for F1 championship leader as he initially struggled with balance of his RB19; watch P3 from 11:30am on Sky Sports F1, with Qualifying at 3pm
Last Updated: 26/05/23 7:06pm
Ride onboard with Max Verstappen as he navigates the Monaco streets during FP2
Max Verstappen believes Red Bull need to find “a little bit more” pace in order to stay ahead of Ferrari at the Monaco Grand Prix.
Verstappen, who struggled with the balance of his RB19 in Practice One, was fastest in Practice Two on Friday, but only by 0.065s from Charles Leclerc.
Leclerc is looking to make it a hat-trick of pole positions on home soil on Saturday.
“FP1 was quite tricky. I was not really happy with the ride of the car on the kerbs. FP2 was already a lot better, the car was a lot more competitive,” said Verstappen.
“Compared to Ferrari, we are still lacking on the general ride of the car – so how it handles the kerbs, the bumps, the drops in camber. So it’s still something we need to work on.
“They are very, very close and knowing once we all go to the limit in Qualifying, we need a bit more to stay ahead of them.”
He added: “I think there’s still a little bit of scope to go in the same direction even more, so hopefully that will be even better.
“The car was drivable and that makes you able to put that lap [together], push a bit more, get closer to the guard rails around here. Overall, a difficult start but a good end.
“[Aston Martin] are close as well, so we definitely need to build a little bit more of a buffer if we want to be ahead of them.”
Verstappen says his Red Bull car initially struggled to handle the Monaco track during Friday practice
Last year’s Monaco GP winner Sergio Perez had a difficult day as he was seventh and over half a second behind team-mate Verstappen.
The Mexican, who is 14 points behind Verstappen in the standings, admitted it “wasn’t a great day” from his side.
“I just need to sit down with the boys and go through it and try to put the best bits out there, every millisecond here is going to make a difference,” he said.
“I think it’s going to be a real challenge heading into Qualifying, so it’s going to be an interesting session.
“Getting on top of the tyres and making sure we put the tyres in the right window at the right time.”
Sainz: Crash won’t affect me
Carlos Sainz was fastest in Practice One and looked strong in the second session, before crashing at the Swimming Pool Chicane.
As many drivers have done over the years, Sainz nudged the inside barrier at Turn 16, which broke his suspension and he went straight on, into the outside wall.
“It was a very small crash, I just clipped the wall on the inside of Turn 16. Typical Monaco miscalculation, so a shame because I gave the mechanics extra time today,” said Sainz.
Carlos Sainz whacks the inside barrier at the Swimming Pool Chicane to crash and cause a red flag in FP2
“But in terms of confidence and lap time, I’ve been on it the whole day and one miscalculation is not going to affect me.
“I think we are on the right track to at least challenge for it [pole]. I think Red Bull is still quick, they are still leading after today.
“But we have been closer than any other weekend, and we hope we can at least give them a run for their money, but I think it will still be tricky.”
Carlos Sainz narrowly avoids colliding with Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc in Practice two at the Monaco GP
Leclerc: Anything is possible
There was little to separate the Ferrari pair for most of the day and Leclerc alluded that pole position is possible.
“We are okay, but Aston Martin and Red Bull seem to be very quick as well,” he said. “We still need to do a step forward, the feeling with the car wasn’t too bad, in FP1 a bit difficult, in FP2 a bit better but there were some things that weren’t as expected on my car, so we’ll work during the night to try and get the car exactly how I want.
“I will give it my all, qualifying is everything here. There is lots of talk about my last race, but, at the end of the day qualifying has always been one of my strengths, so I’m not too worried and I will go for it and let’s see what happens.
“I don’t think we have the best car, Red Bull is faster, Aston Martin is there about, but if we do a great job and I if put everything into my lap, then anything is possible.”
The Formula 1 season continues with the Monaco GP this weekend. Watch qualifying at 3pm on Saturday with lights out at 2pm on Sunday. Get Sky Sports