“Keep focusing on ourselves” — Leclerc delighted with Friday pace as Sainz looks for more one lap speed on Saturday at F1 Monaco GP

Photo Credit: Scuderia Ferrari
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Ferrari performed well in the first two practice sessions of the 2024 Monaco Grand Prix, establishing them as serious contenders for the weekend.

Racing on his home track, Charles Leclerc had a scare in the first practice session after running over some debris following Zhou Guanyu’s crash at turn 1. Leclerc’s time of 1:12.397 placed him in fifth, just 0.228 behind the leader and three-time winner of the Monaco Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton. 

The second practice session went well for Leclerc; he topped the charts with a time of 1:11.278, clearing the field by almost two-tenths. He finished just ahead of Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso.

Charles Leclerc spoke highly of the car after his sessions after FP2:

“I think on the medium, we’re really strong; on the soft, we struggled to put everything together; there was a lot of traffic; we have a good car for the moment. I’m quite confident with the car. However, it’s super important we keep this into FP3.

“I think we’ve done a really really good job, but we need to keep working, keep focusing on ourselves.”

Leclerc admits he was not surprised about Red Bull struggling to find pace and the fact Mercedes looked quick.

“We arrived here knowing anything was possible.

“This weekend, we seem fast. Mercedes has been struggling since the beginning of the season; they are very fast this weekend. We expect them to be the same tomorrow. Lewis has been on it all day, so we have to maximize it all tomorrow.”

Carlos Sainz, on the other hand, did not have his best performance during the practice sessions, placing 10th in FP1 and sixth in FP2 as he could not match his teammate’s scintillating pace. The Spaniard admits Friday practice was “not an ideal start” to the weekend, although his long run pace in FP2 looked very good.

“Definitely struggled in over one lap today we were just unable to extract maximum performance out of the medium and the soft.”

Despite the lack of speed in FP1 and FP2 over a single lap, Sainz remains hopeful that he can improve throughout the rest of the weekend. 

“Monaco normally is one of my strongest that’s why it’s weird what happened today in a way so at the same time when I see I’m probably the quickest over the long run there’s something there to understand, and if we put everything together, we should be okay by tomorrow.”

All eyes will be on Ferrari as the weekend goes on to see whether they can convert their impressive practice pace into a strong qualifying session and possibly win the Monaco Grand Prix.

The qualifying session on Saturday is one of the most anticipated events of the weekend, as starting positions will be vital due to the narrow streets and limited options for overtaking.