Carlos Sainz has hailed Ferrari’s pace after the opening day of running at the Monaco Grand Prix, believing the Italian team is “close” to competing at the front of the field.
Charles Leclerc ended FP2 as the fastest driver, with Sainz following in second place, leading to suggestions that it could be in contention for a shock result this weekend.
The team is still recovering from a disastrous 2020 campaign that saw it drop into the midfield, with clear gains made over the winter break.
Sainz remained cautious over the team’s chances this weekend in Monaco, but asserted that it is not far away from mixing it at the front of the pack.
“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 [Hamilton] 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.”
Team-mate Leclerc – whose most recent victory was at the 2019 Italian Grand Prix – added that the Maranello squad is “looking good”, but was also reserved in his estimations.
“I want to wait until Saturday for now,” Leclerc said. “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.
“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.”