Join DRAKE at STAKE F1 PARTNER
MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - MAY 24: Sergio Perez of Mexico driving the (11) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB20 on track during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Monaco at Circuit de Monaco on May 24, 2024 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. (Photo by Getty Images/Getty Images)

Monaco Grand Prix Friday Driver & Team Reports

MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - MAY 24: Sergio Perez of Mexico driving the (11) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB20 on track during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Monaco at Circuit de Monaco on May 24, 2024 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. (Photo by Getty Images/Getty Images)

Monte-Carlo welcomed Formula 1 with mostly clear blue skies, despite predictions of rain on Friday, for FP1 and FP2 ahead of Sunday’s 81st Grand Prix de Monaco.

It is billed as F1’s crown jewel race but it tends to be a procession where pole position is ultra-important, and then surviving the Grand Prix without incident is the next part of the plan tp get a chance at celebrating on the history-steeped royal podium.

As usual on the unforgiving and claustrophobic streets, Friday sessions were packed with near misses and a few heart-stopping moments as drivers pushed the edge along the shores of the Cote D’Azur amid the multi-million dollar yachts that line sections of the track that pass the harbour. Many a-barrier banners will need to be replaced! But happily no bent metal so report about.

Here is what teams and drivers had to say after Friday’s practice in Monaco:

Ferrari: It seems that we have a good car for this track

Ferrari: It seems that we have a good car for this track

Ferrari Team Report: “Scuderia Ferrari HP had a relatively trouble-free time of it, getting through all its Friday free practice programme for the Monaco Grand Prix. Charles Leclerc topped the timesheet in the second session, with Carlos Sainz sixth. The aim was to do as many laps as possible so that the drivers could get to grips with racing between the walls and that goal was achieved with 141 laps completed over the two sessions, during which the team was also able to evaluate all three tyre compounds. Charles was soon on the pace at his home track, while Carlos adopted a more progressive approach which will continue in tomorrow’s third free practice session.

“FP1. In this session, the SF-24s ran the Hard and Medium tyres, the drivers setting their quickest times on the latter, Charles fifth fastest in 1’12”397, Carlos tenth with a 1’12”954. Charles did 33 laps, Carlos 35.

“FP2. The session began at 17.00 and Charles and Carlos started off on the Medium tyre, with the Monegasque immediately getting up to speed with a 1’11”573, before switching to the Softs for the middle part of the session. On the softest compound, both drivers set their best times: 1’11”278 for Charles, to top the time sheet, and 1’11”962 for Carlos, good enough for sixth. In the last 20 minutes, they both ran with a heavy fuel load in race trim. Charles did 37 laps, one more than Carlos.

Charles Leclerc: “All in all, it seems that we have a good car for this track and I felt quite confident with it today. We have to keep that rhythm in place for FP3, because I may have taken a bit more risk today than others did, which paid off in terms of lap times, but the key here is to put it all together in qualifying when everyone starts really pushing the limits. We did a good job overall and have to keep focusing on ourselves. It was a great feeling to be back in the car on the streets of my home town and to feel all the support, we will give it everything to have a good one tomorrow.”

Carlos Sainz: “It was a challenging Friday for me. I struggled to find consistency in the car and played around quite a bit with the set-up. For the last stint of the day, I was happier and the long run was positive. We will focus on carrying that feeling into tomorrow’s practice as we prepare for qualifying.”

Red Bull: It is going to be tough this weekend

Image

Max Verstappen: “It was pretty difficult but we knew coming into the race this weekend that this might be the case. There was a lot of bounce and temperature changes on track, which also made it tricky. Every time that we went over a bump, the car lost a lot of lap time and on this track one small jump could result in you ending up against the wall. We are looking into a solution ahead of the weekend to sort this out. In general, the issue is a bit more difficult to solve in set up and it won’t be a quick fix but we are going to work on it overnight; we don’t expect miracles but are still looking ahead to tomorrow. Ferrari are also looking quick but I am not thinking about that ahead of tomorrow. Overnight we are going to review the issues that we have and we will hopefully improve the drive of the car ahead of qualifying.”

Sergio Perez: “It is going to be tough this weekend, we are finding it hard to get away from our limitations at the moment. We will see what we are able to come up with tonight, we ran a slightly different set-up on each car and I don’t know what the issues were for Max until we debrief. There are plenty of things to look at, the long run pace seems to be in a better place, but we will have to wait and see how we perform tomorrow. Ferrari look really strong and whenever they need the lap, it has seemed really quick and easy. It is a benefit to them and they aren’t struggling with their tyres either. We have a few items we need to be able to improve overnight and then hopefully it can put us back in the fight and we can be closer to the top.”

Mercedes: One of our best Fridays of the year

monaco FP2 hamilton mercedes Mercedes: One of our best Fridays of the year

Mercedes Team Report: “A positive start to the race weekend in Monaco • A solid first session saw both drivers use three tyre sets – including one set of Soft each – to finish P1 and P3 after the opening hour of practice. The team took the decision to run the third tyre set in FP1 owing to a forecasted high probability of rain in FP2.

“However, the predicted rain failed to materialise in the second session, meaning both drivers ran a new Medium and then the used Soft from FP1 – like Norris for McLaren, too. Lewis set the second-fastest lap time, while George was afflicted by a steering vibration in both sessions which was costing time under braking. He finished P10.

“Both drivers completed long runs on the Medium tyre, with a number of cars throughout the field suffering graining. George also evaluated a new front-wing design during FP1 this morning.”

Lewis Hamilton: “It’s been a good day, probably the best we’ve had so far this year, and the car is feeling very positive. This track is just amazing in an F1 car, and I’ve been enjoying my driving today – I was pleasantly surprised by the grip level and the way the car was responding, which made it a much more enjoyable ride than the last two years. In the second session, it felt a bit less comfortable, and we’ve got lots of work to do overnight to improve the long runs and the front graining. It was a feeling positive on the lower fuel, and we don’t want to lose that, but our focus now is to improve on the long run.”

George Russell: “That was one of our best Fridays of the year, and the car is feeling the best I’ve ever had in Monaco. My session was limited by the steering vibration – as soon as I touched the brakes, the steering system was shaking, and on a track like this where you need confidence to attack, that really set me back. Every team is developing so quickly, and you can see how much faster the lap times are this year than last. The car is feeling good, and Lewis’s times showed the performance that’s in there, but Charles (Leclerc) is very quick, and we know as well how quickly things can change. I hope we will be fighting for the top five tomorrow.”

Andrew Shovlin, Trackside Engineering Director: “Overall, we’ve had a pretty good day with both cars. FP1 was productive. We pulled forward the FP2 soft into that session as we expected rain although that never materialised and meant we were on used tyres for the low fuel soft in the afternoon. George was struggling with a vibration on braking – we need to get on top of that for tomorrow as it appeared to get worse during the course of the day and was very intrusive this afternoon. However, the underlying pace of the car seems good. Our long run needs some work as we’ve got to be a bit kinder on the front tyres on Sunday but we’ve got some options for that. We’ve also got to track the circuit as the grip comes up but it’s encouraging that we seem to have a decent platform to work from.”

McLaren: The battle at the front seems very interesting

Image

Lando Norris: “First of all, it’s just great to be back, driving around this circuit. It’s so incredible. It’s tough as always, but I think it’s been a reasonable first day. It’s always hard to get in a good rhythm around here but I think we’re in a good place. It’s very close between several teams, with maybe one or two a little further up the road compared to us. We’ve got a bit of work to do, but I think it’s kind-of as expected and we’ll keep pushing hard.”

Oscar Piastri: “That’s Friday done in Monaco. I’d say it’s been a pretty good day overall. The pace has looked good but it’s very, very tight between a lot of teams today, so it’s difficult to say where we could net out. We’ve got some things to look at and tweak overnight, but I feel like we’re in a good place. It’s going to be an exciting Saturday.”

Andrea Stella, Team Principal: “It was a productive day of practice here in Monaco. We worked through our planned programme without any issue. The threatened rain didn’t materialise, so we had plenty of time to evaluate tyres, understand setup and give the drivers as much track time as possible. The battle at the front seems very interesting: there are quite a few quick teams. We’ll work hard this evening to maximise our potential, have a good qualifying session tomorrow and score points in a race that may still be affected by the weather.”

VCARB: We’re happy with our day’s work

Image

Yuki Tsunoda: “It was another positive first day for us. Straight from FP1, I felt positive. There are still some little things we can improve on to extract the performance but that’s what practice is for. For example, I think we can improve in general in the braking phase because we had a couple slides there and obviously with this C5 tyre, it’s very sensitive. Other than that, warmup is good and everything is positive, so it’s just finetuning the little things that always count, especially here in Monaco. The general pace is there and I’m looking forward to improving another step tomorrow, maximising it for qualifying.”

Daniel Ricciardo: “I feel good being back here in Monaco, it’s just nice and enjoyable driving an F1 car around this track again. I’m happy with the work we did today, I think that we have some pace in hand, and probably the timesheets didn’t show the full picture, so hopefully putting on some softs tomorrow we can be fighting inside the top 10. I feel like I got myself into a better rhythm towards the end of FP2 and was happy with the last lap I did on the mediums. Considering everything, I think we’re in a good place and now it’s a matter of putting the setup together. I’m really looking forward to tomorrow; I’m excited because the qualifying day in Monaco is probably one of the coolest days of the whole Formula 1 calendar.”

Alan Permane, Racing Director: “We’re happy with our day’s work today. We ran a slightly altered programme because of the threat of rain in the afternoon, which obviously didn’t materialise. It meant we took a soft tyre in the morning and that didn’t leave us with a soft this afternoon, so we’re a little further down the timesheet than we would’ve been had we run the softs. A few problems with ride of both cars in the morning session were hurting the drivers, especially in braking in Turn 1 where it’s a little bumpy and in the chicane after the tunnel, but some good changes across both cars in between sessions saw an improvement. Both drivers report they were happier with the car in the afternoon and we look forward to FP3 and qualifying tomorrow.”

Haas: We need to find a slightly better balance around Monaco

Haas: We need to find a slightly better balance

Haas Team Report: “Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg kicked off FP1 on identical run plans, utilizing the Pirelli P Zero White hard tire. Both came into the pits for a front wing change to compare aero data, with lap times improving, a 1:14.527 and 1:15 072 was set by Hulkenberg and Magnussen respectively. A switch to the medium compound saw further progress before debris on track from Zhou Guanyu touching the barriers led to a brief red flag. With ten minutes left on the clock, Magnussen returned to track on a used set of hards while Hulkenberg remained on the medium compound to end the opening session.”

“Magnussen banked a 1:13.390 before the stoppage to place P14 at the checkered, while teammate Hulkenberg recorded a 1:13.576 to finish P16. Both cars started FP2 with a baseline stint on medium tires. A return to the garage saw a switch onto soft rubber for quali sims. Magnussen subsequently clocked a fastest lap of 1:12.473 to land P13 on the timesheet as Hulkenberg saw a lap of 1:12.569 take him to P15. Drivers wrapped up Friday’s action with high-fuel runs, both finishing the day on used softs. The team ran a total of 132 laps on Friday across FP1 and FP2 – 68 from Hulkenberg and 64 from Magnussen.”

Nico Hulkenberg: “It’s quite something – for the first few laps you’re just stunned at how impressive it is – how fast, how dynamic, and how challenging. That’s Friday in the bag, I think it was an okay day, there were no problems on our side. Performance-wise, it didn’t look too great where we slotted in but it’s all fine margins, so we need to squeeze a little bit more out overnight for tomorrow. The picture we have today, we’re a bit away from the top 10 at the moment, but it didn’t feel too bad from a balance point of view. It’s just lacking grip in some areas, so we’ll see what we can do.”

Kevin Magnussen: “It’s incredibly tight as always, I say that all the time now, and this race is all about qualifying so it’s really important we get things right tomorrow. There’s a good rear in the car, the big rear wing is important here, but everyone came to Monaco with an extra high downforce wing. You’re just finding lap time all the time; the track is so bumpy and it’s just that much more intimidating driving around here. It requires bravery to really pull everything out of it and I don’t think anyone has done that yet. It’s very easy to go over the limit, and it’s very costly. I’d love a bit more pace of course, but we’ll see what we can do.”

Ayao Komatsu, Team Principal: “I think it’s been pretty similar to what we expected so far. I think overall in terms of the package we have for Monaco, it’s doing what it’s supposed to do but like I said earlier in the week, we just need to find a bit more from our car balance to be able to extract performance. We understand our long-run pace so I’m not too worried, but of course qualifying is everything here, so we need to find a slightly better balance.”

Williams: We had a reasonably good day

Image

Sven Smeets, Sporting Director: “The first day in Monaco is always a bit tricky as the track is a real challenge for every driver from start to finish. Drivers need some laps to get in the rhythm and to start building up confidence. We had a reasonably good day today with both drivers being able to do their full run plans in both FP1 and FP2. Alex showed some promising pace on the Soft tyre but the long run in FP2 proved we still have some overnight work to do to improve the car for the race on Sunday. The key will be to find the right balance between Qualifying and Race-pace. As the chance for showers tomorrow is decreasing it seems we are heading to a dry Qualifying which will be well appreciated by the fans.”

Alex Albon: “It’s been okay today; we have the same issue as last year with our car struggling to get the front tyres in a good window and when they’re not in a good window, they open up and start graining. The concept of our car tends to lend itself to this kind of circuit with it being an area we’ve been focusing on. The weight isn’t such a big factor around here, so it feels like we’re on a more level playing field. Q2 is a good goal but hopefully, we can be in the higher end of this.”

Logan Sargeant: “There were some good and bad moments today, however FP2 wasn’t very smooth. We have some work to do tonight on the low and high fuel, and whilst it wasn’t the best today, it’s still a pleasure to drive the streets of Monaco. We need to fix the balance and get the tyres in a better window, understanding the variables more to bring it all together. There’s lots to gain out there, so we’ll do some work tonight and see what we can do tomorrow.”

Aston Martin: Let’s see what we can do in Qualifying

Image

Aston Martin Team Report: “During the first day of action at the spectacle that is the Monaco Grand Prix, Lance and Fernando had a strong start to the weekend. Fernando finished FP2 in third with a time of 1:11.753, while Lance finished the second Practice session in seventh. Lance and Fernando spent Friday’s Practice sessions gathering important data and gaining a further understanding of the new updates. Both drivers finished inside the top 10 in both Practice sessions. Fernando finished third in FP2 with a time that was only 0.388 seconds off last year’s pole.”

Lance Stroll: “We got some good laps in during today’s Practice sessions so we’ll spend this evening looking through the data and maximising our learnings. I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s Qualifying. Driving around Monaco is always a lot of fun; it’s all about pushing to the limits. It’s always an exciting session, so we’ll see what we can do.”

Fernando Alonso: “It was good to get some track time today ahead of Qualifying tomorrow. We need to analyse all of our data overnight and let’s see what we can do in Qualifying.”

Stake F1 Team: Today’s sessions don’t really reveal our true standing

sauber f1 monaco

Stake F1 Team Report: “Sauber took to the narrow and twisty streets of Monaco for the first two practice sessions of the weekend. The team devoted morning and afternoon to the search for a good setup, one that would maximise performance for tomorrow’s qualifying in the Principality With the Saturday sessions crucial for the success of the weekend, there will be plenty for the team’s engineers, in Monaco and Hinwil alike, to work on overnight as we prepare for the ultimate test for drivers and machines – qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix.”

Valtteri Bottas: “Today has been a productive day which allowed us to gather important data ahead of tomorrow’s Qualifying, which will be decisive. I always enjoy racing on these streets: it’s definitely good to be home. Our car felt good, and I overall felt quite confident in both sessions, which were dedicated to testing different setups. I reckon today’s positions do not quite reflect our true performance, and we should be more competitive tomorrow. The pack is tight, and given how today felt, I’m positive we can have a proper chance at it for quali. There will be a lot to play for, and we must be at our very best in order to catch any opportunity that may arise.”

Zhou Guanyu: “Today’s sessions don’t really reveal our true standing: with an eye to the weather forecast, we opted to use our softs in FP1 rather than FP2. We’re getting things ready, and the car felt better in the afternoon compared to the morning session. I reckon we need to find a few more tenths to be safe, but we’ll find out tomorrow. I had a snap in turn one in FP1 but managed to keep damage to the minimum – that’s Monaco. For the rest of the weekend, it’ll all come down to getting the car in the right window and the tyres to work. I am confident that, if I also find a bit more myself, we can be up there in the mix.”

Alpine: We’re in a good place at this stage

Image

Esteban Ocon: “It’s great to be back in Monaco and driving at this legendary circuit. It’s been an interesting day. In Free Practice 1, the grip was quite tough and it was all about building the speed lap by lap and trying to get as close to the walls as possible in order to improve lap-time. I would say the second session was better for us as we made some good improvements and steps forward. We managed to learn a lot – we still have more to work on – but I would say we’re in a good place at this stage. We will continue the hard work, put it into practice ahead of Qualifying, and aim to be in a good position tomorrow afternoon.”

Pierre Gasly: “I had a tricky Free Practice 1 due to an issue on the car. We were able to fix it during the session but it still meant that we did not get much running in. Free Practice 2 was mainly about getting a good feel for the car at this circuit and trying to push the limits as much as possible. At times, I probably pushed too much, but I did feel quite comfortable in the car so that’s positive. My run on Softs was a little messy. I did not quite put together all three sectors, so there are definitely things to learn and more to extract. We will continue to work hard in fine tuning everything ahead of the all-important Qualifying tomorrow afternoon.”

Monaco Grand Prix FP2 Classification

Image