Max Verstappen is struggling for optimism at the Monaco Grand Prix, saying Red Bull look “very weak” after Thursday practice.
Monaco was touted as a must-win scenario for Verstappen if he wants to shift momentum in the title race back in his favour, but the race weekend has not started positively at all.
Come the end of FP2 it was Ferrari who sprung a surprise to end the opening day P1 and P2. Charles Leclerc’s session-topping time was almost four tenths up on Verstappen’s best attempt.
The Dutchman, then, can not help but be concerned, stating that Red Bull are “too slow” and look “weak” around the Circuit de Monaco.
“We are too slow, not just a little bit, quite a bit,” he said, as quoted by Motorsportweek.com.
“We really need to find some pace because everyone has traffic so you have to look at the optimal lap times or optimal sectors, and we are quite off.
“And also it didn’t feel great to drive. Normally I am quite comfortable in the car, quite easily [able] to get to a pace, but it all takes too long and just not how I like it. Maybe so far, the most difficult weekend.
“I am just surprised how competitive Ferrari is, but I think it just shows that we are pretty weak.
“They’re doing very well and we are very weak, so then the offset is very big. Luckily we have a free day tomorrow so we can look into things. A lot of things need to change, I think.
“The gap they [Ferrari] have is big around here. We need to improve a lot to match them.”
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Verstappen’s team-mate Sergio Perez is in real need of a strong showing in Monaco after a difficult Spanish Grand Prix.
The Mexican started perfectly by topping FP1, but in the afternoon session he ended up P8, six tenths adrift of his team-mate.
Perez though blamed traffic on his soft-tyre run as the reason why he left a lot to be desired on the timing sheets.
“I had a pretty bad run on the Soft [tyre], a lot of traffic,” he confirmed.
“I couldn’t put my final sector together because basically, my best sector was on the Medium tyre.”