All On Red On Day 1 In Monte Carlo

2021 Monaco Grand Prix, Thursday - Charles Leclerc

Ferrari has stunned the F1 world on the opening day of the FORMULA 1 GRAND PRIX DE MONACO 2021 as Charles Leclerc topped the timesheets in FP2, with his teammate Carlos Sainz in second place, just 0.112s slower.

The day started terribly for local driver Leclerc, who after just four laps had to pit with a gearbox problem that ended his session.

However, Sainz got through his planned programme, completing 32 laps, all of them on the Pirelli Medium tyres. His best time of 1’12”606 was good enough for second place on the time sheet.

In the second session, Ferrari ran different programmes with each driver. On his first run, Sainz used the hard tyres, while Leclerc, back on track having had his gearbox changed, used the set of mediums he had been unable to try in the morning.

Both drivers then switched to the softs for the qualifying simulation, setting their best times of 1’11”684 for Leclerc (30 laps); 1’11”796 for Sainz (32 laps).

Pleasant Surprise For Leclerc

After having his day compromised after just four laps in the first session, it looked like it could be a long and torturous home grand prix for Charles Leclerc. However, his bounce back in the second session put a big smile on the Monegasques face ahead of Saturday’s all-important qualifying session.

“It was quite a surprise to have the day end so well, after we had a difficult start this morning. It’s important to do as many laps as possible, especially here in Monaco, and with the issue we had in FP1 I only completed 4 laps. In FP2, I felt at ease with the car and we may even have a bit of margin there to improve. But we shouldn’t get too carried away, because I am convinced that our competitors have more in hand. We have a day of work ahead of us tomorrow, and we will only know where we really stand on Saturday,” said Leclerc.

Consistent Speed For Sainz

It was a day of consistent speed for Sainz, who finished in P2 in both FP1 and FP2, setting himself up for a solid qualifying performance come Saturday.

“It has been a very positive first day for the team here in Monaco, but we know it is only practice. Things can change a lot from Thursday to Saturday at this track, so we will stay focused. Despite being quite happy with the car, we’ll keep working hard over the next two days to understand where we can improve. I really missed driving around these streets. I enjoyed myself in both sessions, pushing the car little by little to try to find the limit. Lets’ fine-tune everything to put together a strong Saturday!” added Sainz.

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