Fernando Alonso has called on Ferrari “to take some risks” in Monaco if they are to go from embarrassed to ecstatic in the space of a week.
For the first time this season a Ferrari set the fastest time in free practice, with Alonso leading the way around the tight, twisty streets of the principality with a lap of one minute 15.123 seconds.
Coming just four days after Alonso was lapped in Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix, Ferrari’s joy was apparent, albeit tempered with a degree of caution as it was only practice.
Nevertheless, Alonso is confident a good weekend lies ahead as he said: “In Monaco it’s mainly a question of having a good feel for the car – the more the driver has, the harder he can push, lap after lap.
“It seems we are a bit more competitive than elsewhere, although one has to adopt the usual caution linked to the unknown factor of how much fuel the others were running.
“However, the reason is very simple in that here, the aerodynamics count for less and so we are suffering less.
“On a track with the lowest average speed, some weaknesses are hidden by other factors, such as the mechanical side and the engine.
“I immediately felt comfortable here, right from the morning, so I was able to push harder and harder, because the car was reacting well and I had confidence in it.
“I am pleased, but we know this is just the first day and that the Red Bulls could be hiding a bit before coming out for qualifying.”
Alonso will naturally be eager to avoid last year’s crucial error after dominating Thursday practice when he was fastest in both sessions.
However, in the final session on Saturday the double world champion smashed his car into a wall which resulted in him sitting out qualifying and starting at the back of the grid for the race.
Aware of the pressures, Alonso added: “Tomorrow will be a much more stressful day because here the slightest error carries a heavy penalty. But we must try to take some risks, because we need to close the gap to the best.”