Carlos Sainz believes Ferrari has the potential to be a contender at the Monaco Grand Prix after finishing first and second in FP2 on Thursday.
Although Charles Leclerc missed most of FP1 with a gearbox issue, Sainz went second-quickest to signal Ferrari’s potential, and then Leclerc led the way in the later session while Sainz again finished in P2. Despite the two encouraging sessions, the Spaniard believes there could be some performance being hidden by some rivals.
“We definitely look close to being a genuine threat,” Sainz said. “We need to wait, we need to wait until FP3. Things change a lot from Thursday to Saturday here, there are some drivers who sandbag a bit on Thursday, just because they want to take it easy. Suddenly on Saturday, Lewis always is super quick, so we will see.
“It’s nice to see that we are at least closer to the front, that we are playing around at the front. It’s encouraging for the team, there’s some positive signs that the car in the corners is not that bad.”
Sainz admitted that his own pace came as a surprise given the fact he’s found the Ferrari particularly different to drive compared to previous cars he’s raced in Monaco.
“It’s been quite enjoyable to be honest,” he said. “The first few laps in FP1, I managed to feel the car quite different to what I was used to here in the past. I had to change a couple of things.
“What is important is, every time I went across the start/finish, I could see myself always in the top three positions, fighting there. It’s always a bit different here, everyone runs different fuel loads, set-ups, every driver pushes differently on Thursday, some push more, others prefer to sandbag and go more little by little. So I there are still a lot of things to check.”
Leclerc was a little more cautious after Friday’s running, because he wasn’t expecting to be so competitive after missing almost an entire session.
“I was quite surprised that it ended that way because Monaco, here it’s very important to do as many laps as we can,” Leclerc said. “Unfortunately with the issue I had in FP1, I had done almost four laps.
“I felt quite at ease with the car in FP2 and managed to put that lap (together). There is still a bit of margin, but on the other hand, I’m sure that Red Bull and Mercedes have more margin than we have, so we shouldn’t get carried away too much. We have one day tomorrow to work hard, and let’s see where we end up.
“I want to wait until Saturday for now. It’s looking good, but for now it’s looking a little bit too good to believe it. Let’s wait and see, Saturday we will know exactly where we are in qualifying, and we will go from there for the race.”