Formula 1: Leclerc fastest in Monaco training – Verstappen struggles

Formula 1: Leclerc fastest in Monaco training – Verstappen struggles

Things are not going as planned for Max Verstappen at the start of the season in Monaco. The Formula 1 world champion is complaining about his car. Ferrari star Charles Leclerc, on the other hand, seems ready for his first home victory.

World Championship runner-up Charles Leclerc drove the fastest practice lap in his hometown at the start of the Monaco Grand Prix. The 26-year-old set the best time of the day in his Ferrari with a time of 1:11.278 minutes and underlined his ambitions for the first victory in his birthplace.

Leclerc finished 0.188 seconds ahead of the surprisingly strong Formula 1 record world champion Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes. Third place went to veteran Fernando Alonso in the Aston Martin. Nico Hülkenberg, the only German driver in the field, drove his Haas racing car to 15th place.

The favored world champion Max Verstappen had obvious problems in both practice sessions and had to settle for fourth place, 0.535 seconds behind. “I’m jumping like a kangaroo. I’m getting a headache. It’s crazy,” the Dutchman radioed to the team from his Red Bull. Just like many of his colleagues, Verstappen touched the barriers with his tires several times and tested the limits of what was possible. At one point, Verstappen even hit the track barrier quite hard with his left rear wheel and had to return to the pits to be on the safe side.

Leclerc’s past home races without success

On Saturday (4 p.m./Sky) it will be particularly important to fight for the first starting position in qualifying, as overtaking maneuvers in the Grand Prix are very difficult on the narrow asphalt strip on the Côte d’Azur. Before the eighth race of the season on Sunday, Verstappen leads the World Championship with 161 points, ahead of Leclerc (113) and Sergio Perez (107) in the second Red Bull.

Verstappen won on the Mediterranean coast last year and in 2021, while Perez was victorious on the challenging street circuit in 2022. Leclerc is still waiting for his first success in Monaco and has not even made it onto the podium so far.

Source: Stern

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