“This time the others have a chance. It’s nice, it’s very open. Ferrari is doing very well, Alonso too. They are not the usual qualifications. Whoever knows how to come up with a tenth, whoever tackles a corner better, can win. They are all under attack.” Felipe Massa, vice world champion with Ferrari – seeking justice after the 2008 Singapore gate revelations – sees it this way for the most important Saturday of the year (since 1986, in 35 of the 36 editions , always won from the first three positions) as they signed autographs and hugged friends.
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It’s a line of reasoning supported by yesterday’s data, because here the free practice sessions aren’t bluffing, they’re actual shooting. Verstappen and Leclerc divided by 65 thousandth, fourteen cars collected in less than a second. There may even be five candidates for pole: in addition to Max and Charles, Carlos Sainz was also very strong until the accident when leaving the swimming pools, “an error of judgment while I was looking for the limit”. Fernando, fourth and optimistic: «I feel comfortable». Perez, lost in traffic, but always extremely dangerous on city circuits (he won 12 months here, and this year in Jeddah and Baku).
There is a large group that gives uncertainty about a season already in the hands of Red Bull, the real show is expected today. As is the tradition of the Principality, even if history is no longer enough even in these parts to secure the future of the GP in the face of competition from the Middle East and the United States. The race is on the calendar until 2025, who knows. It will be a long negotiation on the economic terms. However, it is not about the last remaining accommodations: 14 thousand euros for a few nights in a cabin on a boat in the port of Fontvieille (where cars do not pass), 18 thousand for 24 hours in a studio in the middle. Between the buildings dotted with red flags with the inscription «Daghe Charles», «Forza Charles» in the Monegasque dialect. This time it was not an easy start for number 16. Tuning changes, a long search for the ideal combination that gave rise to doubts – “because the car still doesn’t behave exactly as we would like” – but also hope. In fact, a flash of kidneys was enough to get close to the top, Leclerc’s specialty is pending work on the Maranello simulator and on track in today’s free practice (1pm) to complete the picture. “But as usual I will give everything: we don’t have the best car, the Red Bull is faster and the Aston Martin is there. But I will always attack: pole position is possible».
In a complicated balancing act between performance and disaster, as evidenced by the one overcome in 2021 (Charles couldn’t even start due to the damage he inflicted on his fast lap on Saturday), as Sainz’s banger recalled yesterday. “I made a mistake and I apologize to the team and the mechanics, but we are here and we can fight for pole,” said the Spaniard.
The president has also arrived in Monte Carlo John Elkann, a sign of commitment to the team? «But I would also have liked to be able to go to Imola (the GP was canceled because of the flood). ed), where our heart beats for all those people,” he said before breaking off and hitting the road to the pits. For the number one of Exor it was a day full of encounters, the one with Christian Horner, received in the hospitality of Ferrari, was not too short. There are several outstanding issues with Red Bull, starting with the case of Laurent Mekies
. The sporting director was announced by AlphaTauri with no agreement on the timing of the transfer. Ferrari has asked for technical counterparts to speed up practice. This also seems like a long negotiation.
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