Can Red Bull repeat Imola turnaround in Monaco? Verstappen and Perez give their verdict

Red Bull's Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez trailed behind Ferrari and Mercedes ahead of qualifying for the 2024 Monaco GP

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Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez played down their chances of challenging for the all-important pole position at the 2024 Monaco Grand Prix as Red Bull were outclassed by Ferrari and Mercedes in particular in Friday practice.

With overtaking so difficult on the street circuit – the last three Monaco GPs have averaged just six normal overtakes – pole position is absolutely crucial but Red Bull have less than 24 hours to solve their issues from the end of FP2 to the start of qualifying.

Verstappen was 11th in FP1 and fourth in FP2, over half a second behind session leaders Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc on both occasions, but endured a similarly difficult Friday ahead of the Emilia Romagna GP before going on to take pole position and victory.

Imola was completely different issues that you could solve with setup,” Verstappen told F1TV after admitting Red Bull had no clear direction to solve their ride issues.

“These kind of things you cannot solve with setup because that’s how the car is made and designed and you can’t change these kind of things overnight so we’re stuck with that. We’ll try to make it a little better but I don’t expect any miracles.

“I had a lot of fun driving, it was good just very difficult when the car’s not doing what you want. Around here with all the bumps it’s easy to have one extra jump and you’re already against the wall, so I think maybe in that sense today was a good lesson that we can fine-tune that for tomorrow, that we know when the car jumps and bounces.”

In stark contrast to his teammate’s Imola overnight transformation, Perez was dumped out of Q2 and limped to eighth – Red Bull‘s first finish outside the top five all season.

While Perez and team principal Christian Horner have stressed they’re not worried it will precipitate a similar slump to 2023 when the Mexican missed Q3 in five successive races starting in Monaco, it’s already brought up uncomfortable memories at Red Bull as they look to bounce back for qualifying in Monte Carlo.

“It’s going to be tough,” Perez said. “I think our limitations are really hard to get away from at the moment so we’ll see what we’re able to come up with tonight.

“I don’t think it’s only one. I think we got a few items that we need to be able to improve on and then hopefully it can put us back in the fight and just be closer to the top, I think it’s looking tough at the moment.

“We ran the two cars slightly different, I don’t know what the the issues for Max were. So plenty of things, the long run pace seems to be in a better condition but obviously it’s just too late so we have to wait and see.”

Verstappen and Perez agree: Ferrari are out of reach

Sergio Perez ahead of the 2024 Monaco Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool
Sergio Perez ahead of the 2024 Monaco Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

With Red Bull going backwards, Hamilton and Ferrari look most likely to capitalise as they overtook the championship leaders and McLaren in the Monaco pecking order.

There’s particular excitement about Leclerc who’d be an extremely popular home winner after two previous heartbreaks having secured pole position in 2021 and 2022, and Red Bull appear to be taking the threat seriously.

“I think Ferrari at the moment are just not reachable, they’re looking very strong at the moment,” Perez said.

“I think they’re really really strong and whenever they need the lap they just seem to put it on really easy, really quick, don’t struggle so much with tyres and that sort of thing.”

Verstappen added: “I’m not surprised to see Ferrari so quick, they’re miles ahead. I’m not even thinking about that for tomorrow. I’m just going to try and solve the issues that we have, make it a little bit more driveable and then we’ll see where we end up. I don’t expect any miracles.”

Adam Dickinson
An international multi-award-winning journalist, Adam Dickinson has written for Total-Motorsport.com since June 2022 and also contributes to TNT Sports, Eurosport and the Rugby Paper. He's also had articles published in the Daily Telegraph and several local newspapers, previously worked for Last-Lap.co.uk and FeederSeries.net in motorsport, and graduated with a First-Class Journalism Degree from the University of Sheffield having also studied in Oklahoma. Adam started watching F1 by accident in 2007, catching the last race in Indianapolis, and attended his first race as a journalist at the 2023 British Grand Prix.
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