Reigning World Champion Max Verstappen is wary that Aston Martin appear to be “close” to Red Bull this weekend at the Monaco Grand Prix, a race which Fernando Alonso has openly admitted he thinks he can win.
Verstappen endured a challenging opening day at the Circuit de Monaco; however, he was still the man to beat on Friday.
The two-time World Champion could only manage sixth in Free Practice 1 though, with the Dutchman having complained about his car’s setup throughout the session.
Carlos Sainz topped the first session of the weekend, with the Spaniard having been almost nine-tenths of a second quicker than the Red Bull star.
Verstappen found his mojo in Free Practice 2 and topped the second session of the day by just under a tenth of a second, from Sainz’s team-mate Charles Leclerc.
Friday certainly ended better than how it started for Verstappen, who admitted after the second session of the day that the team are ‘still lacking” the perfect setup.
“FP1 was quite tricky, I wasn’t happy with the ride of the car on the kerbs,” Verstappen said.
“FP2 was a lot better, the car was a lot more competitive but compared to Ferrari, we’re still lacking in the general ride of the car.
“How it handles the kerbs, the bumps, the drops, the camber. It’s still something we need to work on for tomorrow because they are very close.”
Whilst Ferrari certainly appear to be strong at Monaco, Aston Martin are also right in the mix, with Alonso having been towards the top of the timesheets.
The 41-year-old was second in FP1 and fourth in FP2, with Alonso certainly being a contender for pole position on Saturday.
Verstappen was certainly more pleased with how his car felt after FP2; however, he knows that more time needs to be found with the likes of Aston Martin and Ferrari looking strong this weekend.
“The car was driveable, at least,” Verstappen added. “And that makes you able to put that lap in and push a little bit more.
“Overall, a difficult start but a good end. They’re (Aston Martin) close as well, so we definitely need to build a bit of a buffer if we want to be ahead of them tomorrow.”