Free Practice 2
F1 2021
Round 5

Work To Do In Monaco, Ahead Of Another Tight Weekend Of Racing

mc Circuit de Monaco

Red Bull Racing topped one session but we have some work to do ahead of qualifying after an intriguing day of practice in Monaco.

Work To Do In Monaco, Ahead Of Another Tight Weekend Of Racing

On Formula 1’s first visit to the street circuit in two years, Sergio was immediately on the pace as he led the way in FP1 with a strong start to the weekend. His fastest lap was on the soft compound tyre and over 0.1s clear of Carlos Sainz, with Max just behind Sainz in third having set his best time on the mediums.

Pierre also had a strong start to the weekend for Scuderia AlphaTauri with the fourth quickest time, while Yuki didn’t take long to get up to speed on his first visit to Monaco, ending up in ninth place.

Yuki exits the tunnel in Monaco
Yuki exits the tunnel in Monaco
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Things were a little less smooth in the second session, however, with Yuki touching the wall on the exit of the Swimming Pool section and only completing 11 laps. The other three Honda-powered cars were in the top eight, but this time Max led the charge for Red Bull in fourth, just 0.007s slower than Lewis Hamilton as Ferrari finished first and second.

Pierre was three places behind Max in seventh place and Sergio another spot further back in eighth, although traffic was a challenge for all drivers on their soft tyre attempts in FP2.

As is tradition in Monaco, there will be no F1 track action on Friday so we have an extra 24 hours to work through the data in order to prepare the car for FP3 and qualifying, with grid position central to Sunday’s hopes.

Toyoharu Tanabe
Toyoharu Tanabe
Honda Racing F1
The first day of practice for the Monaco Grand Prix went smoothly on the PU front. It has been two years since we raced here and we have a new PU this year, therefore part of our work today centred on basic function checks and making changes to the PU settings, as we gathered plenty of useful data. It’s only the first day, but it’s not a bad result to have all four cars in the top ten in FP1 and three of them in FP2. However, as we have seen at every race so far this year, we can expect very tough competition for the rest of the weekend. Unfortunately, Tsunoda hit the guardrail in the afternoon, losing precious track time as the car had to be repaired, which is not ideal, given that he has never raced here before in any category. However, along with ourselves and the team, there is plenty of time for him to study all the data carefully and try and recover on Saturday, when we will tackle what is the most important qualifying session of the year, given the difficulty of overtaking here.

Max Verstappen
Max Verstappen 33
Red Bull Racing
It of course feels good to be back out on track in Monaco and although we did quite well in FP1, this afternoon’s session was tricky and I would have hoped that we could have been faster. We were too slow in FP2 and we really need to find some pace because everyone has traffic, you have to look to optimum lap times and optimum sectors and we were quite off. I usually feel quite comfortable in the car but that has not come yet this weekend. Luckily, we have a free day tomorrow to look at a few things to improve to make sure qualifying goes well on Saturday.

Pierre Gasly
Pierre Gasly 10
Scuderia AlphaTauri
It’s been a very good day for us. In terms of pace it was great and this morning was a strong way to start here in Monaco – I felt confident in the car and could push hard. This afternoon we finished within the top ten, so we’re still pretty pleased with that, but it was a lot harder in the car. Hopefully I can work with the guys over the next day to improve in the areas where we are struggling but generally, we are quite happy with it. Monaco is so unique – in terms of grip and it’s also very bumpy – so we need to find out what works best with our package to make it work well around here. We have a good baseline but hopefully we can continue to improve ahead of Qualifying, as we know how crucial it is to Qualify well around these streets.

Sergio Perez
Sergio Perez 11
Red Bull Racing
It’s great to drive in Monaco again after not racing here last year. I’m enjoying it a lot as it’s such a fantastic track. We had a very good FP1 and the car was feeling strong, we made a few changes between sessions and I think maybe we took a step backwards but it’s hard to really know as I had traffic on my soft tyre run. I think we probably have work to do on our short runs but we have lots of information to look at now ahead of qualifying on Saturday when hopefully we can be in the mix. Even though he missed most of FP1, Charles still managed to end the session fastest so the Ferraris are looking strong but let’s see who sits where on Saturday when it counts.

Yuki Tsunoda
Yuki Tsunoda 22
Scuderia AlphaTauri
Sadly, my second session ended early today – I wasn’t pushing too hard into the corner, but I lost grip at the end of the turn and unfortunately tapped the wall. I’m not sure how much this will affect my preparation for the race, obviously a loss of running isn’t ideal, but I’ve got two sets of Softs for Saturday now so it’s not the worst case. I just need to prepare more for Saturday and put it altogether when it counts.

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