2023 Monaco Grand Prix – Friday Tyre Analysis: Max Verstappen was the fastest on the first day of free practice in Monaco. During the second session, the Red Bull driver set the best time of 1m12.462s on a new set of P Zero Red softs. Charles Leclerc, last year’s poleman, was six hundredths of a second slower, stopping the clock at 1m12.527s, marginally quicker than his teammate Carlos Sainz (1m12.569s).
The Spaniard led for much of FP2 but ended his day prematurely when he crashed into the barriers in the Swimming Pool section with about 15 minutes of the session remaining, causing a red flag.
In addition to being fastest on the softs, Verstappen also set the best time of the day using the medium (1m13.312s) while Sainz did so on the hard (1m13.808).
The tyres used today have shown to recover grip after a flying lap if drivers are able to cool them down properly. During qualifying it should therefore be possible to stay on the track longer, trying to make the most of changing traffic conditions.
With the session starting at 17:00, the asphalt was significantly cooler in FP2, partly because the amount of the track that was in shade increased as the sun went down. In fact, the temperature dropped from the high of nearly 47°C reached during FP1 to a low of 39°C at the end of the day.
During FP1 the teams tried the P Zero White hard and P Zero Yellow medium. The best time on the latter compound was set by Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) with a 1m13.372s, three tenths faster than Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin). Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) ended the session in third place with a 1m14.035s. FP1 was interrupted twice by red flags: the first with about 20 minutes to go following an impact against the barriers at the Nouvelle chicane for Nico Hulkenberg (Haas) which damaged his left-rear wheel rim, the other with three minutes remaining because of an accident for Alex Albon (Williams) who hit the guardrails at Sainte Devote, ending the session early.
Simone Berra – Pirelli Chief Engineer
“It is always a great spectacle to see Formula 1 cars hurtling around a track as fascinating and unique as Monaco and today was yet another confirmation of that. In terms of tyre behavior, we had no particular surprises. All three compounds were used on a track that sped up significantly from the beginning to the end of today’s running. The differences in performance between hard, medium and soft are quite in line with the simulations and, in their evaluation, one must take into account the relatively short length of this circuit and its evolution. Usually the gaps here are small, but this year they seem to be even smaller, because in the hybrid era we have never seen a gap of only seven tenths between the first and tenth fastest drivers in FP2. It will therefore be even more important to be on track at the right moment to be able to push hard and, with this in mind, it is worth pointing out that today we saw that even the softest compound allows for more than one fast lap if properly managed in terms of grip recovery. It is a tyre characteristic that we introduced last year and which has already been highlighted recently at other circuits, such as Baku.”