Verstappen: Red Bull 'needs something more' to stay ahead

Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing RB19. 26.05.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 7, Monaco Grand Prix, Monte Carlo, Monaco, Practice Day. -, EMail: © Copyright: Price / XPB Images
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Max Verstappen might have ended up topping the times at the end of Friday's first two free practice sessions for the Monaco Grand Prix, but he's not convinced it's enough to secure victory in Sunday's race.

Verstappen set the best time of the day with a lap of 1:12.462s but that was only 0.065s ahead of the response from his Ferrari rival Charles Leclerc. His own Red Bull team mate mate Sergio Perez was just seventh in FP2.

Verstappen himself had been just sixth quickest in the lunchtime session when he had been almost nine tenths off the pace of Carlos Sainz in the second Ferrari, suggesting that the day hadn't been straight forward for Red Bull.

"FP1 was quite tricky today - I wasn’t happy with the ride of the car - but the second free practice was much better than the first," Verstappen said after the end of the day's track activity. "The car was much more competitive.

"I felt more confident in FP2 to push a bit more," he continued. “It was better to drive, so then you can push more and get closer to the guardrails. Overall it was a difficult start but a good ending.

"Compared to Ferrari, I think the handling is still lacking on the curbs and the drops in camber," he continued. "We're still a bit short in terms of how the car behaves on the kerbstones and bumps.

"We’ll need more for qualifying tomorrow to stay ahead of them," he said. "That’s something we need to work on for tomorrow, because you can see they are very close."

It's not just Ferrari who are threatening, with Fernando Alonso ending the day in P4 for Aston Martin having been runner-up in the earlier session, demonstrating consistency as well as raw pace.

"The Aston Martins are also close, we need something more to stay ahead of them," he acknowledged. "[But] I’m looking forward to qualifying tomorrow, let’s see what we can do.”

By contrast, Perez felt that he has been better in the earlier session than in the second practice. “It wasn’t a great day today in terms of pace in the car," he said. "I think FP1 went a little bit better than FP2.

Sergio Perez (MEX) Red Bull Racing RB19. 26.05.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 7, Monaco Grand Prix, Monte Carlo, Monaco, Practice Day. -, EMail: © Copyright: Coates / XPB Images

"After the changes we made in the car we have plenty of things to review before tomorrow’s quail," he continued. "I will sit down with my team and go through everything because every millisecond here is going to make a difference.

"They are just little things, nothing huge is standing out at the moment, so I am not massively worried," he insisted. "It’s going to be a real challenge heading into qualifying.

"It’ll be an interesting session," he predicted. "We need to make sure we get on top of the tyres and put them in the window at the right time to get the perfect lap around here.”

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