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Monaco GP: Busy Friday for the Team in the Principality

Lewis and George lay a solid foundation for the weekend in Monaco

The eighth race of the season takes the team to the historic Circuit de Monaco. For the 81st time, the Monaco Grand Prix will be held in the principality on the Côte d'Azur. As all the other nine teams, we have brought another set of upgrades to the track, including a Monaco-specific rear wing, changes to the floor and a new front wing for evaluation. On Friday, our Mercedes duo set the right tone for an encouraging weekend.

P1 was briefly interrupted by a red flag, and FP2 seemed destined to be compromised by rain (which then never came). As every practice lap counts in the principality, George and Lewis had no time to lose in the second practice session. The Mercedes headed out on new Medium tyres immediately after the green light. Early in the session, it became clear that the team is particularly fast in the first sector. With consecutive laps on the Medium tyre, the drivers continued to build up their confidence.

As the session progressed, Lewis steadily improved his lap times and got closer and closer to Leclerc's best time, while George struggled on the bumpy track with steering vibrations under braking. He returned to the pits for a quick check and work on the car to reduce the problem.

Halfway through FP2, George and Lewis headed back out. All 20 drivers had their moments on the difficult circuit. Including our duo, but both were able to avoid any damage. Lewis' fastest lap was just 0.188 seconds slower than Leclercs and put him P2 while running used Soft tyres. George still struggled with vibrations, so P10 was the maximum for him.

In the final part of practice, the Mercedes duo focused on long runs with Medium tyres. There is still work to do, but overall, it was an encouraging session for the team, and with 62 laps in total, the team gathered a lot of data to analyze overnight.

A solid start in FP1

FP1 in Monaco is typically characterised by a lot of running, and it was the same this year. On a narrow and twisty street circuit like this, the drivers not only have to set up their cars perfectly, but also find their own rhythm and adapt to the track.

Lewis and George did this very well. With 35 laps each, they completed almost the most of all the drivers and were able to try out all three tyre compounds. This was all the more important as rain was forecast for FP2 even before FP1, so the team had to adapt the planned programme flexibly and try out all tyre options early on. There were only isolated drops of rain during FP1, but the track remained dry.

The lap times and positions from the first session were not very meaningful, as not all teams fitted the Soft tyres, including Red Bull and Ferrari. Lewis finished the session in P1, George in P3. George struggled with a lack of grip at the start of the session and reported steering vibrations. Lewis was happy with his car but, like George, had some front locking. And then, of course, there was the typical Monaco problem on some of the fast laps: traffic!

The action continues on Saturday with FP3 at 12:30 local time (11:30 BST), followed by the all-important qualifying session on the streets of the Principality at 16:00 local time (15:00 BST).

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.

2024 Monaco GP Friday FP2 Result

1

Charles Leclerc

Ferrari

1:11.278

37

2

Lewis Hamilton

Mercedes-AMG

1:11.466

32

3

Fernando Alonso

Aston Martin

1:11.753

37

4

Max Verstappen

Red Bull

1:11.813

37

5

Lando Norris

McLaren

1:11.953

35

6

Carlos Sainz

Ferrari

1:11.962

36

7

Lance Stroll

Aston Martin

1:12.062

22

8

Sergio Pérez

Red Bull

1:12.099

31

9

Alexander Albon

Williams

1:12.257

38

10

George Russell

Mercedes-AMG

1:12.260

30

11

Yuki Tsunoda

Racing Bulls

1:12.349

36

12

Oscar Piastri

McLaren

1:12.366

35

13

Kevin Magnussen

Haas

1:12.473

31

14

Esteban Ocon

Alpine

1:12.554

34

15

Nico Hülkenberg

Haas

1:12.569

34

16

Daniel Ricciardo

Racing Bulls

1:12.577

37

17

Pierre Gasly

Alpine

1:12.750

35

18

Logan Sargeant

Williams

1:12.790

36

19

Valtteri Bottas

Sauber

1:13.057

31

20

Zhou Guanyu

Sauber

1:13.773

32

2024 Monaco GP Friday FP1 Result

1

Lewis Hamilton

Mercedes-AMG

1:12.169

35

2

Oscar Piastri

McLaren

1:12.198

31

3

George Russell

Mercedes-AMG

1:12.295

35

4

Lando Norris

McLaren

1:12.396

33

5

Charles Leclerc

Ferrari

1:12.397

33

6

Fernando Alonso

Aston Martin

1:12.775

26

7

Lance Stroll

Aston Martin

1:12.789

26

8

Yuki Tsunoda

Racing Bulls

1:12.875

34

9

Daniel Ricciardo

Racing Bulls

1:12.901

36

10

Carlos Sainz

Ferrari

1:12.954

35

11

Max Verstappen

Red Bull

1:12.984

29

12

Sergio Pérez

Red Bull

1:13.229

29

13

Valtteri Bottas

Sauber

1:13.248

28

14

Kevin Magnussen

Haas

1:13.390

33

15

Alexander Albon

Williams

1:13.425

34

16

Nico Hülkenberg

Haas

1:13.576

34

17

Logan Sargeant

Williams

1:14.150

36

18

Esteban Ocon

Alpine

1:14.159

33

19

Zhou Guanyu

Sauber

1:14.570

30

20

Pierre Gasly

Alpine

1:15.574

10

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