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Formula 1 Monaco GP

Perez: Ferrari "not reachable" for F1 rivals in Monaco so far

Sergio Perez reckons Ferrari is "not reachable" as it stands following the opening day of Formula 1 running at the Monaco Grand Prix, after Charles Leclerc headlined FP2.

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-24

The Monegasque was just under 0.2 seconds clear of Lewis Hamilton in the second free practice session at the Monte Carlo circuit, and half a second clear of the nearest Red Bull - Max Verstappen, who was fourth fastest.

Red Bull struggled to unlock performance from its RB20 and suffered over the bumps around the circuit, while the Ferrari seemed a far more competitive prospect after the opening day.

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Perez reckoned that the Ferrari seemed able to "put it on really easily" when it came to preparing for a hot lap, and that the nature of Monaco rewarding qualifying more often than not set the Italian team as favourites.

"Ferrari at the moment are just not reachable," Perez said. "I think they're really strong and whenever they need the lap, they just seem to put it on really easy, really quick.

"It's something that is quite a benefit around this place, to be able to put the lap in quick and whenever you need it to, and don't struggle so much with tyres and that sort of thing.

"They're looking very strong at the moment."

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB20

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB20

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

After Mercedes also factored at the top end of the timesheets, George Russell reckoned that the W15 gave him a feeling of "the best I've ever felt" around Monaco, and suggested that the 2024 field would break the lap record around the principality.

The Briton had his own struggles however, commenting that the car was "shaking to bits" under braking, and noted that Leclerc had the advantage heading into Saturday's sessions.

"As soon as I touched the brakes, the whole thing was shaking to bits. So I don't know what was going on.

"I tried my best, holding it as hard as I could, like a gorilla, trying to hold onto it and the thing kept shaking.

"On a track like this where you need confidence to attack, it really set us back and we just decided it was best to call it a day during the long run and try and analyse what was going on.

"But generally the car's been performing really well today. FP1 we were P3 I think and then Lewis P2 this afternoon. Clearly working well, but you know Charles is well out in front.

"We know how quickly everything changes, but definitely today's been one of our best Fridays, no doubt. The car's feeling the best I've ever felt around around Monaco, so lots of positives.

"Everybody's developing so quickly at the moment. And you see how quick the lap times are today compared to last year. We're way, way quicker, potentially even breaking the lap records. Somebody will probably do tomorrow. Hopefully, it'll be us.

"But it's feeling good. And we'll have to see what the weather does as well."

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