Leading the opening two practice sessions isn’t enough for championship hopeful and home rider Charles Leclerc as he says he still needs to make more gains to stay ahead of Red Bull – and all the other teams which could disturb Ferrari in Monaco.
Leclerc led FP1 by just 0.04 seconds over Sergio Perez but dominated the second session over team-mate Carlos Sainz as the Red Bulls fell three tenths. Still, he was not over the moon, with the Monegasque driver explaining why, after what appeared to be a successful start to proceedings in his home town.
WATCH: Get on board with Leclerc as he sets fastest time on opening day in Monaco
“It wasn’t great in FP1; a bit better in FP2,” said Leclerc, “but I really think we need to do another stage for tomorrow because I’m pretty sure everyone has quite a bit of margin on a Friday and also as drivers , so it’s a bit of an unknown for now.
“The car looks solid, even in the race pace, we seem to be good even though there was a lot of traffic. But the initial feeling is good. Hopefully we can do the stage we want to do starting tomorrow, and have a great weekend from there.
What is this step that Ferrari must take? Leclerc took responsibility, adding that he had to start pushing the limits with a very important qualifying session in mind.
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“Overall, mostly driving. Driving – I took it step by step and so far everything is going well, but yes, once the last step is taken, that’s when the risks increase and we will only do it in qualifying tomorrow.
“It’s very tricky because the track is very bumpy, with a lot of curbs too, so you really feel that’s a big difference compared to last year’s car, for everyone. And yes, that makes it even harder than before. But yes, at the moment we are competitive, so I’m happy.
Sainz, who finished third in FP1 just 0.07 seconds behind Leclerc before backing him up for a Ferrari double in FP2, said his team handled Monaco’s bumps much better than their rivals.
“The important thing is that we are competitive, we feel pretty good for the challenge that it is. These cars are much more everywhere, much more delicate with the bumps, with the curbs. But yes the important thing is that ‘it looks like the others are fighting even harder so yeah, good challenge ahead of us.
READ MORE: Red Bull ‘surprised’ to have gap with Ferrari after Verstappen and Perez track Leclerc to Monaco
“I guess we seem to be working the tires well, and at the same time we seem to have a decent level of grip, which is the most important thing here, right? be a challenge for everyone.
Leclerc has never reached the checkered flag in his home Grand Prix but hopes to do so for the first time on Sunday knowing he is only six points behind championship leader Max Verstappen in the drivers standings. .