2023 Formula 1 – Monaco Grand Prix: Carlos Sainz tops first practice as Alex Albon crashes

Monaco Grand Prix After a long hiatus following the cancellation of Imola, Formula 1 drivers took to the Monte Carlo circuit on a glorious Friday with the much-anticipated track debut of the Mercedes W14.

Lando Norris set a time of 1:18.618 and Lewis Hamilton responded with a time of 1:20.045. The Englishman records his first lap at the track in the updated car. There were concerns about Max Verstappen at the start of the session. The reigning world champion reported problems with the “clutch” and “the car dropping too much”.

Monaco Grand Prix

Ferrari’s Carlos Saines, however, kissed the wall for the first time and touched hard with the front right, but was still overtaken with a time of 1:5.198 after finishing second to team-mate Charles Leclerc. Leclerc lost 0.7s after the opening 10 minutes as Hamilton finished third and complained about Verstappen’s P4, saying his “back was too hot”.

A quick tweak to the front wing flaps and Leclerc pulled back to 1:14.562, with Verstappen saying the bottom was “serious”. When asked about the gap between Red Bull and its rivals, he replied: “It doesn’t matter. We have to sort it out ourselves.”

Monaco Grand Prix The Dutch continued to complain. “Dude, I want to box. I’d screw around like that with a car set up like that.” – Before looking for changes, like George Russell and Leclerc, who complained about front-end stability, Leclerc told Ferrari that the car needed some changes.

Logan Sargeant wasn’t happy with his car either. The Williams driver announced: “Something is wrong. I heard a strange noise.” He was told to “get off the radio” and he slowly made his way back to the Williams garage.


Monaco Grand Prix Kick off time


At the front, Hamilton had a mid-season 1:14.035,

Sainz 0.210 seconds behind, and Norris third, a further 0.2 seconds adrift of the lead.


Monaco Grand Prix



Before the start of the second 10 minutes, Leclerc briefly moved to the Ferrari garage before returning in 1m15.037s, while his team-mate continued to go around unhindered.

Leclerc’s next flyer lowered the benchmark to 1m14.562s before Sainz finished the fastest start to the 20-minute session at 1m14.401s. He then went on to win by 1m14.245s before heading to the pits with most of the team.

At this stage, Alonso finished third with Verstappen ahead of the Ferrari driver after attempting to change the set-up and then complaining that the initial set-up was too low on the ground, failing to match the Ferrari driver’s high initial lap total. He was “for a shunt”.

After a brief lull, several drivers emerged first to use the mid-speed that Hamilton clocked at 1m14.035s to lead the Ferrari pair in the time lead.

Verstappen even used the medium to gain time but still couldn’t overtake Sainz’s old benchmark after two laps. That’s because Red Bull’s adjustments didn’t improve his ride and he felt he was “still doing the same thing over the bumps. It’s not very good”.


Monaco Grand Prix player list 


Cla Driver Chassis Laps Time
Spain Carlos Sainz Ferrari SF-23 Ferrari 26 1’13.372
Spain Fernando Alonso Aston Martin AMR23 Aston Martin 28 1’13.710 0.338
United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W14 Mercedes 27 1’14.035 0.663
Mexico Sergio Perez Red Bull RB19 Red Bull 27 1’14.038 0.666
Monaco Charles Leclerc Ferrari SF-23 Ferrari 24 1’14.093 0.721
Netherlands Max Verstappen Red Bull RB19 Red Bull 26 1’14.244 0.872
United Kingdom Lando Norris McLaren MCL60 McLaren 25 1’14.467 1.095
France Esteban Ocon Alpine A523 Alpine 29 1’14.585 1.213
Canada Lance Stroll Aston Martin AMR23 Aston Martin 28 1’14.653 1.281
Thailand Alex Albon Williams FW45 Williams 32 1’14.666 1.294
Finland Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo C43 Alfa Romeo 29 1’14.718 1.346
Denmark Kevin Magnussen Haas VF-23 Haas 29 1’14.725 1.353
Japan Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri AT04 AlphaTauri 29 1’14.820 1.448
France Pierre Gasly Alpine A523 Alpine 30 1’14.866 1.494
United Kingdom George Russell Mercedes W14 Mercedes 24 1’15.066 1.694
Netherlands Nyck de Vries AlphaTauri AT04 AlphaTauri 33 1’15.083 1.711
Australia Oscar Piastri McLaren MCL60 McLaren 32 1’15.192 1.82
United States Logan Sargeant Williams FW45 Williams 30 1’15.557 2.185
China Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo C43 Alfa Romeo 25 1’15.684 2.312
Germany Nico Hulkenberg Haas VF-23 Haas 17 1’15.785 2.413



Monaco Grand Prix

Carlos Sainz set the early pace at the Circuit de Monaco ahead of Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton in a heavily modified Mercedes.

The Ferrari driver set a time of 1 minute and 13.372 seconds, leading his compatriot by more than three-tenths of a second, with Hamilton three-tenths of a second behind.

Sergio Perez finished 4th to lead Red Bull in a grueling session that was upset by teammate Max Verstappen’s poorly handled RB19 in 6th.

The championship-leading pair were separated by Charles Leclerc’s second Ferrari.

Lando Norris was seventh for McLaren, while George Russell’s second Mercedes suffered traction problems at the rear of the race and finished 15th.

Red flags were distributed twice during the session. Once against the mark of Nico Hulkenberg at the Nouvelle Chicane and the second when Alex Albon crashed into the outside wall at Sainte Devote with less than three minutes to go.

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