As Max Verstappen topped the timesheets in Friday’s practice session in Monaco, the Red Bull driver acknowledged the need for more performance to outpace Ferrari and Aston Martin in qualifying. Despite encountering challenges with a clutch problem and a rough ride during the opening practice, Verstappen showcased his prowess in FP2, securing the fastest time. However, the slender margins separating him from the Ferrari duo of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jr. have raised concerns within the Red Bull camp.
Red Bull’s Unique Challenge in Monaco:
Monaco presents a distinctive and demanding circuit that tests the limits of the cars and drivers. Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko has already acknowledged that the strengths of the RB19 may not be fully exploited at this technical venue. Verstappen echoes these sentiments, stressing the importance of enhancing the car’s performance to maintain an edge over their rivals, particularly Ferrari.
Verstappen’s Assessment and the Need for Improvement:
Reflecting on the practice sessions, Verstappen expressed his dissatisfaction with the handling of his car, particularly over the kerbs, bumps, and camber changes. While acknowledging the progress made in FP2, he believes Red Bull still falls short compared to Ferrari in terms of overall ride quality. To stay ahead in qualifying, where drivers push the limits, Verstappen stressed the necessity for Red Bull to find “a bit more” performance to maintain their advantage.
Competition from Ferrari and Aston Martin:
Verstappen’s focus on Ferrari’s competitiveness extends to Aston Martin as well. With both teams showcasing impressive pace in practice, Verstappen emphasized the need for Red Bull to establish a larger performance buffer if they aim to secure pole position. Fernando Alonso of Aston Martin emerged as the next-closest challenger, highlighting the increasing competitiveness in the midfield.
Verstappen’s Championship Ambitions:
As the current leader of the Drivers’ Championship, Verstappen aims to extend his lead over his teammate and primary title contender, Sergio Perez. With a 14-point advantage, Verstappen will be keen to maximize his qualifying performance in Monaco and further solidify his position at the top.