The first day of action on the track in Monaco ended with the best time of Max Verstappen, who concluded the afternoon session with a time of 1:12.462, detaching the two Ferraristi respectively by 65 thousandths and just over a tenth .
A Friday ended with a smile for the Dutch driver, despite the fact that the first free practice session didn’t go quite as he had hoped, given that the set-up with which he started the day hadn’t proved to be the ideal one for tackling the Monegasque track. Many difficulties in dealing with the passage on the curbs, but also on the bumps, then having to fight with understeer in the fastest sections of the track.
Small changes were not enough to solve these problems. In fact, the mechanics intervened in a more profound way between the two sessions, even if the feedback from the two riders was somewhat conflicting. The two-time world champion, although he still highlighted some aspects in which the RB19 needs to take a step forward in view of qualifying, said he was satisfied overall.
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19
Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images
“Yes, FP1 was quite complex, I wasn’t happy with the behavior of the car on the curbs and bumps. In the second free practice session it went much better, the car was more competitive. But, making a comparison with Ferrari in particular, we are missing something, how the car behaves on curbs, bumps, elevation changes and the like. We still have to work on it in view of tomorrow, because they are very close and, knowing that we will have to be at the limit in qualifying, we need something more to stay ahead of them”, explained Verstappen, underlining how Ferrari – and also Aston Martin – can be a real threat in the dry lap.
The change of pace came thanks to the changes made between the first and second sessions, which made the car more drivable. According to the Hasselt driver, there would still be some scope to dare something more in terms of set-up: “I think there’s still some scope to go further in that direction (that chosen for FP2), we hope to improve for Tomorrow. The car was drivable and this makes it possible to have a good lap, it allows us to get closer to the walls. Overall, a complex start but a good ending.”
If for Verstappen the set-up changes have brought about a tangible improvement in terms of car behavior and confidence behind the wheel, the same cannot be said for Sergio Perez, who believes that the changes made between the two sessions have the feeling with the single-seater worsened.
Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB19
Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images
“Today was not a great day in terms of car pace. FP1 went a little better than FP2. With the changes we have made, we have a lot to review for tomorrow. I just have to sit down with the guys and analyze everything to try and improve, because every millisecond will make a difference. They are small things, there is nothing particular at the moment”.
To be able to extract the maximum, it will also be essential to be able to bring the tires into the right operating range: “(It will be important) Manage the tires and make sure they are in the right window at the right time”, added the Mexican.
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