Although there is no excitement, Friday’s practice gives us hope that the rest of the Monaco Grand Prix weekend will be interesting. I invite you to a summary.
It started with an earthquake, and then the tension only grew … Well, no, this film quote cannot begin the description of Friday’s trip in the Duchy, but you have to admit that the results of the first lesson were unexpected. Carlos Sainz drives fast and regularly sets the best time, followed by his partner, Fernando Alonso. Only in 6th place was Max Verstappen, who complained a lot about the configuration of the car. If I had a zloty for every Red Bull problem in the first training period, I would probably have enough money for a good kebab.
Verstappen and Red Bull returned to form in FP2 and still look very strong in Monaco, despite the problems. It seems that Max “went all out” because he kept Perez in focus for more than half a second. For now, the Mexican is calmly surveying the land, preparing for praise.
But it is impossible to be different from the very fast speed of Ferrari. It is the team from Maranello that looks stronger and stronger even after Friday, although Red Bull is almost at the same level. Both Leclerc and Sainz drove very well today, although they made mistakes. The Spaniard was more expensive, but it is a strong warning sign for Ferrari – their drivers can run into the gang at any time.
On the other hand, time to take risks if not here in Monaco. Getting the top position or even the first row can give you a good chance of winning, and that’s the pot that teams like Ferrari, Mercedes and Aston Martin are now playing in.
At Mercedes, Toto Wolff is happy that the new car is “at least not worse than the old one”, but the second part of Toto Wolff’s statement is more optimistic – the car listened to them. It must be remembered that Mercedes is only at the beginning of the road with a new car. And it’s a good start, which can give hope for better results, although maybe not in Monaco. I would also note the fact that so far Lewis Hamilton is getting along better with the new build and this is an issue that definitely needs to be monitored in the future.
At Aston Martin, for now, calm and wait for the opportunity. They are slightly behind Ferrari and Red Bull, they will fight with Mercedes. And when I write about Aston, I mean Fernando Alonso. Today in the first session he beat Stroll by almost a second and in the second session by half a second. It is on those tracks that the differences between these drivers will come out.
Surprisingly in 5th place among the teams after Friday I have to put McLaren. Norris had a great session today, taking the lead twice. In theory, it is a track that should favor the team from Woking, although at the same time their car is not very predictable this year. But entering Q3 with at least one car will not be a surprise tomorrow.
In theory, Alpine Monaco is probably not worth it, but today they were in or out of the top 10 and it looks like we’re going back to the “good old” Alpine vs McLaren matchup. And this is another step to wait for later at the end of the week.
Alfa Romeo is also looking good after Friday, at least the Bottas, but I don’t trust them, nor the Haas drivers, who had a few incidents today and can be recommended as the leaders of the yellow and red flags in qualifying. .
AlphaTauri’s pace looked terrible today and it looks like they have another tough weekend ahead of them. Things were worse for Williams, who not only lost a lot of time, but also lost a lot of places after Alex Albon’s crash.
Tomorrow’s topic number 1 will be track traffic. Already today many drivers are blocked by opponents and it is difficult to expect that in qualifying – especially Q1 and Q2 – it will be better. The seriousness of the situation is well illustrated by this video:
🔴 The complexity of managing traffic in Monaco illustrated by Charles Leclerc and his piste engineer.pic.twitter.com/REXP36Kmfz
– Scuderia Ferrari FRA (@FerrariF1FRA) May 26, 2023
Saturday in Monaco should be a dry day and if it rains, then it is Sunday afternoon.
I invite you to 21:15 to discuss Friday in Monaco and Business.
photo: Mercedes F1 Team