Scuderia Ferrari proved to be the shock pace-setters in the second free practice session for the 2021 Monaco Grand Prix, and Mercedes say they consider the Maranello team a genuine threat.
Despite the fact that Charles Leclerc had played down the importance of the driver in modern Formula 1 around Monte Carlo, it was he who topped FP2 in front of his home fans. And the margin was not exactly small either. Ferrari team-mate Carlos Sainz slotted into P2, while P3 finisher Lewis Hamilton was four tenths down on Charles Leclerc’s benchmark.
The Monegasque driver is remaining cautious though, expecting that Mercedes and Red Bull have more performance left to unlock than the Scuderia. Yet Mercedes’ trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin says the Italian side do have genuine pace in Monaco.
“For a Monaco Thursday this one has been relatively straightforward. Traffic is always a feature and as expected, the shorter sessions make it hard to do much by way of long runs. That said, we’ve covered the majority of what we set out to and we have a decent understanding of our limitations and the areas that we need to improve. This season we’ve learnt to expect Max’s company in the battle at the front but it was a surprise to us to see both Ferraris looking so strong; you don’t need to scrutinise the timesheets for long to see that their pace is genuine – they could be real contenders for the win. We’ve got an extra day to work on things tomorrow which is handy as it feels like we need to improve both our single lap and long run performance, but Monaco is all about putting together the entire weekend and today was a pretty decent start.” – he explained.
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