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Charles Leclerc

Leclerc makes Monaco 'rhythm' demand after taking early risk

Charles Leclerc has praised Ferrari's strong Friday practice form ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix after he topped FP2, but warns it must not let its performance slip.

Leclerc Monaco
To news overview © XPBimages

Charles Leclerc has offered an optimistic outlook for Ferrari's Monaco pace after a promising first day at his home grand prix, but knows he must retain that form, suggesting he may have pushed harder than his rivals.

The Monegasque driver only set the fifth fastest time in free practice 1, but his lap time was on the white-walled hard compound, whilst those around him had used the soft Pirelli tyres.

His underlying pace was further emphasised in the second practice session, with the 26-year-old going quickest - almost two-tenths of a second clear of Lewis Hamilton and over half a second up on Max Verstappen in the leading Red Bull.

"On the medium [tyres] we were really strong," the Ferrari driver told F1TV after FP2. "On the soft, we struggled to put everything together. There was a lot of traffic all the way, but all in all, we have a good car for the moment - I feel quite confident with the car.

"However, it's super important that we keep this rhythm into FP3, because it's the way Monaco is. I might have taken a bit more risk compared to the others today, which paid off. However, it's all about tomorrow in quali[fying], when everybody starts to go on the limit. 

"Until now, I think we've done a really, really good job. But we need to keep working, keep focusing on ourself, but it's a positive first day."

'More pace in me putting everything together'

Ferrari struggled for outright pace in the grid-setting session in Imola, with battery deployment issues leaving the Italian on the back foot, even with an upgraded package. However, the nature of the Monaco circuit means that is less of an issue this weekend.

But despite setting a time in FP2 that was quicker than pole at Monaco last season, the five-time race winner believes there is still more pace to extract from the Ferrari.

Leclerc highlighted he was unable to put it all together on over one lap on the red-walled Pirellis, but if he is able to do so in qualifying, the trailing pack will face a difficult task to usurp him atop the timing sheets.

"I think there's just more pace in me putting everything together," he contended, when asked if there was more to come from him on Saturday.

"If you look [at] my three sectors, there was quite a bit of lap time in them when you put all of it together. So, that will be the main focus for tomorrow, but let's say that performance and feeling is there."

Also interesting:

In the latest episode of the RacingNews365.com podcast, Ian Parkes, Samuel Coop and Nick Golding look back at this weekend's Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, where Max Verstappen and Lando Norris went head-to-head for the victory around the famous Imola Circuit as McLaren continue to pile the pressure on Red Bull!

Rather watch than listen to the podcast? Click here.

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