Martin Brundle picks ‘team to beat’ in Monaco between Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes

Martin Brundle believes that Ferrari are the team to beat this season and in Monaco after Charles Leclerc finished first in the opening practice session on Friday.

He also claimed that Red Bull won’t take their lead for granted now that they have moved ahead of Ferrari. Red Bull’s Max Verstappen sits top of the overall standings following three straight wins, just the second time he has done that in his career. Verstappen however was off the pace on Friday and finished the first free practice session in fourth, behind both Ferrari drivers Leclerc and Carlos Sainz.

Brundle, speaking to Sky Sports F1, said: “Red Bull will have seen Ferrari disappearing into the distance last weekend in Barcelona, so they will be taking absolutely nothing for granted. They got lucky when he broke down there but Max dropped out of two Grand Prix already this year as well.

“So I don’t think that they will be assuming that ‘We are back in front, this is ours to lose now’, because the Ferrari and Leclerc in particular, Sainz as well I think has the talent to join that particular fight as well. They are right in there and Ferrari are the team to beat for me still, on pure pace.”

Ferrari have been the team to beat so far in Monaco, with Leclerc on top on his home circuit in the first practice session and Sainz in third, with Sergio Perez between them in second. Lewis Hamilton had a disappointing opening session, finishing tenth as he launched an X-rated rant on his team radio during the session.

He said: “The bouncing is crazy mate. “I’m f*** losing my mind.” The seven-time world champion later added: “There’s an incredible amount of bouncing.”

Hamilton even suggested he needed extra protection in the car. He explained: “Need elbow pads in this cockpit, it’s bouncing so much.”

Red Bull are leading both the drivers’ and constructors’ standings after an excellent start to the season but were fined €300 (£255) by stewards after Perez was caught speeding in the pit lane. The Mexican was recorded travelling almost two mph above the speed limit during the first session. However, the team will face no further punishment, meaning Perez does not risk receiving any grid penalties.

Leclerc will be hoping to reclaim his lead in the Driver’s Championship, as Verstappen took the win in Spain last time out only after the Monegasque suffered fatal engine issues while in the lead. Verstappen has won every race he has finished this season but will be wary of the start Leclerc has made in practice. Monaco is famously a difficult circuit to overtake so qualifying on Saturday will likely be crucial, with over 68 per cent of all races having been won from the front row.

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