Verstappen: Red Bull 'very weak' compared to Ferrari in Monaco F1 practice

Max Verstappen believes Monaco has been Red Bull’s most difficult weekend of the Formula 1 season so far, calling its pace “very weak” after Thursday’s practice running.

Verstappen: Red Bull 'very weak' compared to Ferrari in Monaco F1 practice

Verstappen arrived in Monaco looking to score his first podium finish in the principality and cut the 14-point gap to Mercedes rival Lewis Hamilton at the top of the drivers’ championship.

But Verstappen could only finish fourth-fastest in Thursday’s second practice session as Ferrari swept to a surprise 1-2 finish led by Charles Leclerc.

Hamilton placed third for Mercedes, finishing seven-thousandths of a second clear of Verstappen in fourth place, who was 0.397 seconds off Leclerc’s benchmark.

Verstappen was open about his struggles after the session, saying that he did not feel comfortable in the Red Bull RB16B car.

“We are too slow, and not just a little bit, I think quite a bit,” Verstappen said.

“So we need to really find some pace because everyone has traffic. You have to look a bit more to optimum lap times, so optimum sectors, and we are quite off.

“It also didn't feel great to drive. Normally I'm quite comfortable in the car, I can quite easily get to a pace, but it all takes too long and it's not how I like it.

“So far, [it is] the most difficult weekend.”

Verstappen and Hamilton had been expected to continue their close fight from the early part of the season in Monaco, only for Ferrari to surge ahead on Thursday.

The Dutch driver echoed Hamilton’s surprise about Ferrari’s pace, but believed it also showed just how much Red Bull was struggling in Monaco.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

“I'm just surprised how competitive Ferrari is, but I think it just shows that we are pretty weak,” Verstappen said.

“They're doing very well, and we are very weak, so then the offset is very big.

“We luckily of course have a free day tomorrow, so can look into things. But a lot of things need to change I think.”

Asked if Ferrari’s pace was genuine, Verstappen replied: “The gap they have is big around here. And so we need to improve a lot to match that."

Sergio Perez struggled to match Verstappen’s pace in the sister Red Bull car, ending FP2 in eighth place and more than six-tenths of a second off his team-mate’s best lap time.

But the Mexican said he felt more at ease with the car, and had his best lap in second practice compromised by traffic.

“The car was feeling good,” Perez said. “We did a couple of changes that we probably took a step back. So I think we got plenty of information for qualifying from Saturday, but then we need to find some pace at low fuel.

“I had a pretty bad run on the softs I had a lot of traffic. I couldn't put my final sector together, because basically my best sector was from the medium tyre.”

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