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Max Verstappen says Red Bull have 'no solution' to Ferrari and Charles Leclerc pace in Monaco

Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez were both downcast for Red Bull's prospects in Monaco after both struggled for pace in Friday's practice sessions; watch Qualifying on Saturday at 3pm and the Monaco Grand Prix itself on Sunday at 2pm, live on Sky Sports F1

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Following a difficult practice on Friday at the Monaco Grand Prix, Max Verstappen said Red Bull have no clear solution to fix their problems

Max Verstappen gave a blunt assessment of Red Bull’s prospects for the Monaco Grand Prix weekend after both he and team-mate Sergio Perez struggled for pace in Friday’s practice sessions.

The Red Bull pair could only manage the 11th and 12th-fastest times in Practice One respectively, and although Verstappen was able to improve to fourth-fastest in Practice Two, he was still over half a second off the quickest lap of 1:11.278 set by Ferrari's Charles Leclerc.

Reigning world champion Verstappen had struggled with issues at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix last week before going on to take his fifth victory of the 2024 season so far, but believes the problems experienced at Monaco cannot be solved by simply adjusting the car's set-up as at Imola.

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Verstappen was inches away from the barriers as he pushed his Red Bull to the maximum in practice

"I don't think I can even describe what is going on, it's very difficult," Verstappen said. "It's something I didn't expect, but it's definitely at the higher end of the worst possible outcome of the weekend so far and it's very difficult.

"There are a lot of bumps and curbs and camber changes as well on the track, and for us it is basically impossible to take.

"Every time we go over it, we lose a lot of lap time because the car doesn't ride it well and that is definitely hampering us to go faster. I think there is no real clear direction or solution for the weekend to try to solve something like that.

"These kinds of things, you cannot solve with set-up because that's how the car is made and designed, you cannot change overnight. We are stuck with that, we'll try to make it a bit better, but I'm not expecting any miracles."

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Following Friday practice at the Monaco Grand Prix, Sergio Perez says that 'Ferrari are not reachable'

Team-mate Perez, who took victory in the principality in 2022, was able to improve to eighth-fastest in the second practice session on Friday, albeit with his best time being 0.821 seconds off Leclerc's quickest lap.

The Mexican racer shared Verstappen's view that there is no quick fix for the issues both experienced and does not expect Red Bull to be able to close the gap on.

"It's going to be tough - our limitations are hard to get away from at the moment," Perez said. "We'll see what we are able to come up with tonight.

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

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Verstappen clips the wall at Turn Seven and is forced to crawl back to the pit lane

"I don't think it's only one, I think we've got a few items we need to be able to improve on. Hopefully it can put us back in the fight and be closer to the top. I think it's looking tough."

Verstappen remained optimistic that the experience of knowing which parts of the track the RB20 was struggling on throughout Friday can help with lessening the performance-sapping effects.

However, he wrote off any chance of being able to compete with Ferrari in qualifying on Saturday.

"Maybe in that sense today was a good lesson," Verstappen said. "Maybe we can fine-tune that for tomorrow [Saturday] when the car jumps and bounces.

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Verstappen and McLaren's Lando Norris put aside their racing rivalry to team up in a game of Padel!

"It's difficult, but I knew coming into the weekend it was going to be difficult and in that sense, I'm not surprised to see Ferrari are so quick.

"They are miles ahead so I'm not even thinking about that for tomorrow. I just want to try to solve the issues we have and make it a little bit more driveable, and then we'll see where we end up."

Leclerc: Important we keep this rhythm

Ferrari ace Leclerc is feeling in confident mood after a promising Friday at his home Grand Prix, but admits he may have to ease off on Saturday.

The 26-year-old Monegasque driver was 0.228 seconds behind Lewis Hamilton's fastest lap in Practice One and then topped the timesheets in the Friday afternoon session, setting a best time which was 0.188 seconds quicker than the Mercedes driver.

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Charles Leclerc says he is confident in the Ferrari car after a successful first day at the Monaco GP but has noticed that Mercedes is also very fast this weekend

That put Leclerc in a positive frame of mind heading into Practice Three and qualifying on Saturday as he aims for a first victory in Monaco, although he conceded he was driving on the edge at times.

"I feel quite confident with the car," Leclerc said. "However, it's super important we keep this rhythm into P3 because the way Monaco is, I might have taken a bit more risk compared to the others, which paid off.

"It's all about qualifying when everyone goes on the limit. Until now, we have done a really, really good job. We need to keep working and focusing on ourselves but it's a positive first day.

"There's more pace in me putting everything together. That will be the main focus. The performance and feeling is there."

Norris: McLaren definitely lacking compared to Leclerc

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Lando Norris says that his McLaren was 'lacking a little bit compared to Charles and the Ferrari' during Friday's practice

Lando Norris has been the driver pushing Verstappen in recent races after finishing second in China, winning his first F1 race in Miami and was second again last time out in Imola.

But, McLaren had the fifth fastest car in a closely fought Monaco second practice, behind Ferrari, Mercedes, Aston Martin and Red Bull.

"We look good out there but not in the sense of speed," said Norris. "We are not bad at all and it's always tricky around here.

"It's nice to be driving at this track, as chaotic and difficult as it always is. It was a reasonable first day. Definitely lacking a little bit compared to Charles and the Ferrari, maybe the Mercedes, they seem very quick as well.

"Everyone is tighter just because it was a small track and an abnormal track. We are up there. We have a little bit to find and I think it will be a difficult day tomorrow but we are in the fight."

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Sky Sports F1's live Monaco GP and Indy 500 schedule

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Look back at some of the most dramatic moments to have taken place at the Monaco Grand Prix

Saturday May 25
9.40am: F3 Sprint
11.15am: Monaco GP Practice Three (session starts at 11.30am)*
1.10pm: F2 Sprint*
2.15pm: Monaco GP Qualifying build-up*
3pm: Monaco GP Qualifying*
5pm: Ted's Qualifying Notebook

Sunday May 26
6.55am: F3 Feature Race
8.35am: F2 Feature Race
12.30pm: Grand Prix Sunday: Monaco GP build-up*
4pm: Chequered Flag: Monaco GP reaction
5pm: Ted's Notebook
5.30pm: The Indy 500

*also live on Sky Sports Main Event

It's time for the most-famous F1 race of them all - the Monaco Grand Prix. Watch every session from the famous street circuit live on Sky Sports F1, with Sunday's race at 2pm. Stream every F1 race and more with a NOW Sports Month Membership - No contract, cancel anytime

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