Mercedes labelled them as favourites for the Monaco event, but it proved to be a difficult FP2 yesterday for Red Bull Racing as Max Verstappen couldn’t match the Ferraris or Lewis Hamilton on the famous street circuit.
Putting the best sectors of the session together, Verstappen was 0.630s adrift of the Ferraris of Leclerc [fastest in S2] and Sainz [quickest in S1 and S3]. The Dutchman was far from impressed at how tricky his car was to drive yesterday.
“No, we are too slow. And not just a little bit, I think quite a bit,” Verstappen told Sky Sports F1.
“So we need to really find some pace. Everyone has traffic so you have to look a bit more to optimum lap times, optimum sectors, and we’re quite off.”
“It also didn’t feel great to drive,” Verstappen continued. “Normally I’m quite comfortable in the car, quite easily get to a pace.
“But it all takes too long, and just not how I like it. Maybe so far the most difficult weekend [in 2021].”
Ferraris excellent speed over a single lap came as a surprise to almost everyone, including the man sitting 2nd in the Drivers’ Championship. Nonetheless, Verstappen also believes it proves how much Red Bull struggled as he laboured to P4.
“I’m just surprised how competitive Ferrari is,” Verstappen said. “But I think that it shows that we are pretty weak.
“They are doing very well and we are very weak, so the offset is very big.
“So yeah, luckily of course we have a free day tomorrow [Friday] so we can look at things, but a lot of things need to change, I think.”
Sergio Perez topped FP1 for Red Bull but he couldn’t complete a clean lap in the afternoon due to traffic on his soft tyre runs. His time in the afternoon was 0.2s slower than his benchmark time in the morning.
Perez admits it’s a great feeling to drive in Monaco after it was cancelled in 2020, but believes the team has work to do after changes for the afternoon didn’t work as planned.
“It’s great to drive in Monaco again after not racing here last year,” Perez said. “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,” Perez concluded.