Unexpectedly, on Friday (26) of Monaco Grand Prix System 1 gathered elements that could change the story that the 2023 season has been telling so far. yes, Red Bull follows the favorite and has everything you need to leave Monte Carlo with one more victory, but the conflict does not seem as logical as in other areas. The case is that the narrow streets, bad pavement and the weather create an interesting combination that took the bulls out of their comfort zone, opening up a lot of space for the rivals, in particular. Ferrari. I mean, like almost everything in the Administration it is related to qualifying, because of the known problems of passing, the Italians find themselves in a position to try the impossible this weekend.
Carlos Sainz led the first activity of the day in Monaco and was followed by Fernando Alonso It is lewis hamilton. afternoon, Max Verstappen led in the last part. However, the Spaniard from Ferrari led the table for a good time – the career of the ferrarista was only interrupted in the accident from the Dam. Up to that point, the ferraristas’ performance seemed solid, with the Dutchman improving his balance.
As well as being fastest on the soft tyres, the World Championship leader (1min12s462) also set the best time of the day on the medium tire (1min13s312), with Sainz best on the hard (1min13s808).
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The fact is that the Austrian team had a day of free practice with more problems than it was used in 2023. Although it also focused on the task of evaluating the effectiveness of the wings – it was possible to identify paraffin in several sectors of the car throughout the day -, the team of energy drinks took time understand the arrangement and was subjected to temperature changes. In the first free practice, Verstappen complained about the set-up of the car, showing difficulty in the corners. In fact, the car seemed to pull out more than usual.
However, the changes made by the engineers made the handling better during the day, but only Max had that feeling. “I think in FP1, I was not very happy with the car in the corners and on the side of the road. FP2 was already better. The car was more competitive, but compared to Ferrari, we are still not satisfied with the car, the way it deals with corners and bumps”, said the champion once two.
Sergio Perez, seventh in FP2, also revealed concerns about the behavior of the tires and said that Red Bull will need a general overhaul before qualifying. “Today is not a big day. Every detail is important, and getting the tires in the window at the right time will be important.
Taurea’s fear is understandable for two reasons. Indeed, Red Bull found it more difficult to find a rhythm and, this time, it was difficult to keep a big gap to the rivals. Both needed more laps to get into the correct tire window and the temperature drop was significant – between FP1 in the morning and the afternoon session there was a difference from 47ºC to 39ºC.
Of course, if you manage to stay on the track for a long time without losing grip, it is a great advantage for qualifying in Monaco, which is always marked by traffic and possible accidents.
Another cause for concern is Ferrari. Red cars were going very fast in the Administration. The performance was accompanied by good tire performance. Charles Leclerc he finished the afternoon session 0s065 behind Verstappen, with Sainz 0s1 behind. “In general, I think the day was positive. We were fast in both practices and the car feels fine. There are still a few things I want to try tomorrow in the setup. It’s trying to improve, but, in general, we were very competitive”, said the car owner #55.
The Monegasque was more careful, because he knows that nothing can fail this Saturday. “It was a difficult day because our car did not respond as it should. Here it is all about ranking. We need to take a good look at our setup and work on it to ensure a good result tomorrow. We haven’t done any races yet, so we have to concentrate to qualify in the best possible way,” declared Leclerc.
But it was Verstappen’s most important assessment: “Knowing that we are reaching the limit, we need more to stay in front of them. [Ferrari]. I think we can still improve a little bit, I hope it will be better tomorrow.”
So, justifiably, the circumstances place Red Bull and Ferrari as the main forces in this Saturday’s classification. But there is a caveat. If on the one hand Taureans are still not 100% confident, Italians need to keep a cool head. Sainz’s crash in FP2 was described as a “calculation error”, but in determining the position, errors put the chance of victory in jeopardy.
Another important caution meets Alonso. Two-time champion of aston martin he set the pace in two sessions and needed little change to the car to set good lap times. Fernando was 0s2 behind Verstappen’s mark, and that is very representative of a circuit like Monaco. “Today, we completed enough laps and managed to understand our car well. It was important to get into a rhythm early this weekend and avoid any problems.”
“In both sessions the feeling with the car was good and easy to drive, which helps in this circuit,” he added.
The Spaniard understands that Monaco is one of the strongest circuits for a tuned Aston Martin, and that was confirmed on Friday. Therefore, Monaco lives a different text: in fact, the System 1 is preparing for a battle for pity, with three strong and almost equally strong candidates.
O BIG PRIZES analyzes all the activities of System 1 in Monaco in Summary, the period which is broadcast after the second free practice, classification and the main race, each time gps channel on youtube. In addition, BIG PRIZES also comments on the definition of the grid and races on the second screen in collaboration with The Sound of Sports. and marching LIVE It is IN REAL TIME all GP activities Monaco. On Saturday, FP3 is scheduled at 7:30 am (Brasília time, GMT-3). Programming starts at 11 am.