Leclerc keen to build on strong start to Monaco GP weekend

Charles Leclerc

Pace setter from the opening day of running at the Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix, Charles Leclerc is looking to carry that forward into the event’s more meaningful running.

Leclerc topped both Free Practice 1 and Free Practice 2 on Friday around the streets of his hometown.

The Ferrari looked the car to beat in the day’s later session, with Carlos Sainz logging the second best time, 0.044s slower than his team-mate.

Next best was Sergio Perez, the Red Bull driver 0.379s back while Max Verstappen was 0.447s down in fourth.

“We had consistent running and completed a good number of laps,” Leclerc said of his day’s work.

“We still have to fine tune the balance but, all in all, it wasn’t too bad and we just need to make the usual step from Friday to Saturday now.”

Having demonstrated strong low speed performance in the season today, the Ferrari was expected to be a strong package in Monaco.

That proved to be the case, with the Maranello pair seemingly holding the upper hand over their Red Bull rivals, with daylight to the next best team.

“An encouraging day after completing our programme and performing well on track,” said Sainz.

“Monaco is always a demanding track, but also a very exciting and fun circuit to push the car.

“Qualifying will be tight tomorrow by the looks of today, but so far we’re happy with the job we’ve done and the way we’ve been improving every time we went out on track.

“Now it’s all about the small details and finding the perfect balance for qualifying tomorrow.”

A final hour of practice remains prior to qualifying, the session which last year saw Leclerc both secure pole position, and crash out.

It was the latter transgression which ultimately ruled him out of the race when he experienced a driveshaft issue on the way to the grid.

The Monegasque driver’s best result at his home event remains the 18th place he was classified in when driver for Alfa Romeo Sauber in 2018, his debut season in Formula 1.

This year, he’s once again enjoying the home support from fans as he hopes to improve that record.

“It was great to see so many people around the track today, considering that it is only Friday,” Leclerc said.

“It really makes me look forward to the next two days and hopefully we can give our tifosi a good result.”

Free Practice 3 gets underway at 21:00 AEST with qualifying to follow at midnight.

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