Saturday Report: 2023 Monaco GP
Tight Qualifying session in Monaco leaves Team wanting more
Lewis Hamilton qualified sixth and George Russell eighth for the 2023 Monaco Grand Prix.
Overnight set-up changes were evaluated in FP3, aimed at optimising the car for qualifying; Lewis ended the session P8 and George P11.
Both drivers progressed from Q1 after improving on their final efforts. After setting a banker lap in Q2, both drivers took a set of the new soft tyre. George improved to P4 whilst Lewis was forced to use another new set to advance into Q3 in P5.
The track continued to ramp up into the closing stages of Q3. Lewis used his remaining set of new soft tyres to go P6 with a 1:11.725. George however was unable to improve on his second new set; a 1:11.964 putting him in P8.
Imagery of the day is available on our media site. All imagery is rights-free for editorial use.
Free Practice 3
Soft, Soft, Soft
The car was feeling good throughout yesterday, particularly in FP1. We then worked overnight and made some changes after FP3 to refine the set-up. It improved the car in the middle of the lap, but it wasn’t good in the first and last sectors. It was tough today therefore and difficult to progress from Q1 and Q2, but we just managed it. Given that, I was happy with my final lap, and I think that’s as good as we could have managed. I’m also hopeful that the set-up we have will work well for the race.
I love being on this circuit and the challenge is immense. It’s very difficult to overtake but we’ll work as a team to make sure we’re prepared to capitalise on any opportunities that present themselves tomorrow. I’m grateful for where we are, and I’ll keep pushing.
We didn’t strike the right balance with the car today. We were often strong in sector one but from there, the lap just went away from us. We also seemed to struggle more as Qualifying progressed. In Q3, that was more down to my part as I didn’t get it together. Naturally we’re disappointed as there were moments where we looked quick, but I think the maximum wasn’t much more than what we got today.
It's going to be a long Grand Prix tomorrow. Monaco is a unique circuit and historically as a team, it’s not always suited our car or been our best race. We also know you’re likely to finish where you start, but we will be doing everything we can to move forward.
Toto Wolff, Team Principal & CEO
We know starting fifth and eighth for tomorrow’s race makes it a challenging Grand Prix for us. Overtaking is notoriously difficult here, but we will be doing everything we can to move forward. Despite our starting positions, we can be motivated by the size of the gap to the front. If you had told me ahead of the weekend that we would be three tenths off pole position, I would have taken it. We also didn’t execute our final laps in Qualifying as well as we could have so there was possibly a little more lap time to be found.
After FP3, we went slightly more aggressive on the set-up. If we had been more conservative, we may have found a better balance with the car. Nevertheless, we’re hopeful those changes will stand us in good stead for tomorrow. It’s been a big team effort to get our update to track. The hard work and dedication of everyone at Brackley and Brixworth is inspiring and we’re looking forward to racing it tomorrow.
Andrew Shovlin, Trackside Engineering Director
It’s not ideal to be lining up fifth and eighth, but we were having to work hard to get the tyre temperatures in the right window to start the lap. That was particularly difficult in Q1 and Q2 as it was impossible to get a clean out lap due to traffic. Ultimately, that meant Lewis had to use an extra set of soft tyres in Q2, that we were aiming to save for Q3. George had a slightly more comfortable journey through the first two sessions, but the grip just wasn’t there when it mattered for his final two runs.
It’s never easy to move forward in the Grand Prix here but we’ll be working through the scenarios tonight. It’s often an unpredictable race and it looks like it might be tough on the tyres. We’ll make sure we do everything we can to be ready to capitalise on any opportunities that come our way tomorrow.