Max Verstappen says he doesn’t feel comfortable in the car so far this weekend as he struggled for pace in the two practice session on Thursday around the streets of Monaco.
After two consecutive wins for Lewis Hamilton, the Dutchman will need an excellent result in Monaco this weekend to maintain the pressure on the world champion, but the circuit hasn’t been too kind to Verstappen, who has yet to score a single podium of his career at Monaco Grand Prix.
Yet, the Red Bull Racing driver could have an unsurprising challenge from Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow as both drivers finished one-two in the second practice session, nearly four-tenths quicker than anyone else.
The Dutchman finished third and fourth in both session, and more positively, ahead of both Mercedes AMG Petronas drivers.
Yet, Verstappen says he hoped the car would have been faster, especially in FP2, and is struggling to feel comfortable in the RB16B so far.
“It of course feels good to be back out on track in Monaco and although we did quite well in FP1, this afternoon’s session was tricky and I would have hoped that we could have been faster.
“We were too slow in FP2 and we really need to find some pace because everyone has traffic, you have to look to optimum lap times and optimum sectors and we were quite off.
“I usually feel quite comfortable in the car but that has not come yet this weekend.
“Luckily, we have a free day tomorrow to look at a few things to improve to make sure qualifying goes well on Saturday.”
Sergio Perez – “I think maybe we took a step backwards”
His team-mate Sergio Perez says the team took a step backwards in the second session after the Mexican topped the practice session in the morning.
After a difficult start to his Red Bull career, the iconic street circuit of Monte Carlo was looking promising for Perez, crucially in the first practice session, when he went fastest overall and topped the timings ahead of Carlos Sainz Jr. in second and two-tenths quicker than Verstappen in third.
The second practice session was ultimately disappointing as Perez could only go eighth fastest overall, and says they made a few changes to the car in between sessions that could have affected the performance after a strong showing in the morning.
“It’s great to drive in Monaco again after not racing here last year. I’m enjoying it a lot as it’s such a fantastic track.
“We had a very good FP1 and the car was feeling strong, we made a few changes between sessions and I think maybe we took a step backwards but it’s hard to really know as I had traffic on my soft tyre run.
“I think we probably have work to do on our short runs but we have lots of information to look at now ahead of qualifying on Saturday when hopefully we can be in the mix.
“Even though he missed most of FP1, Charles still managed to end the session fastest so the Ferraris are looking strong but let’s see who sits where on Saturday when it counts.”