Lewis Hamilton finished fourth and George Russell fifth in the 2023 Monaco Grand Prix.
Lining up fifth and eighth respectively, it looked like there would be little action or change in positions until rain fell just past the halfway point of the race.
Both drivers boxed for the intermediate tyre on lap 55, the strategically optimal time to make the switch, gaining positions. By this time, Lewis had already made a pit stop while George had run a long first stint on hard tyres and had yet to stop
In the challenging conditions, George ran down an escape road on his out-lap and dropped to P5. As he re-joined, contact was made with Perez and the Brit was given a five-second time penalty, although the gap he pulled to Leclerc behind rendered that academic.
Lewis ran from the stops to the flag in P4, closely following Ocon’s Alpine. He also claimed the point for fastest lap.
With a solid points haul, Mercedes closed the gap on second-placed Aston Martin in the 2023 F1 Constructors’ Championship to a single point.
“I’m really happy with today’s result. We moved forwards in the race and that’s not an easy task here in Monaco. Coming into the weekend, I didn’t know where we would stand. To come out with fourth and fifth is great points for the Team. I want to say a huge thank you to everyone back at the factories for pushing and bringing these upgrades. It’s been so much work to bring those here. We managed to keep it in one piece today and brought it home.
“It was difficult to know here in Monaco how the upgrades were performing. There’s lots of bumps and the car feels very stiff so it’s tricky. Barcelona, though, is probably the best test circuit we could ask for in order to learn more about our package. I’m looking forward to seeing how the car reacts.”
“I’m very disappointed with myself. After the pit stop, I was ahead of Lewis and Esteban (Ocon) and I made a mistake, completely by myself. What’s even worse is that I wasn’t even pushing. I touched the brake and locked up; that’s cost the team a podium. One third of the track was extremely wet, another part was quite dry. If you touch the white line when it’s wet, it’s like ice. But ultimately, it’s the same conditions for everyone. We cannot judge the upgrades from this circuit. Barcelona will be the first real examination of it and it will be exciting to see how we perform. No matter what happens in Spain though, it will be interesting to learn and move forward from there.”
Toto Wolff, Team Principal & CEO
“This was a solid result and good points for the team after a race where it would have been easy to make mistakes or move backwards through the field. The strategists called it exactly right today in terms of switching to the intermediate tyres, and that’s what jumped us ahead of Ferrari to get P4 and P5. Lewis stayed cool throughout the race – even when his medium tyres went off in the opening stint, we were able to protect position and then take advantage of the rain. George shouldn’t be too hard on himself, either – he drove a nice first stint to have the opportunity to capitalise on the rain and then the conditions were just so tricky to drive, that a small mistake cost him quite dear. But this was an afternoon where the team worked well, and our drivers showed their quality, too, and that shows in the points scored. We brought a big package to this race, and it has performed well. We have seen some positives in Monaco, which we know is not a representative circuit, and it will be next week in Barcelona when we get a more precise idea of competitiveness. We don’t want to get ahead ourselves, and I think we’re all looking forward to learning more about the car, and to seeing if we’ve made a step in performance against our immediate competitors.”
Andrew Shovlin, Trackside Engineering Director
“Considering our pace this weekend, fourth and fifth isn’t a bad result. Ultimately though, we weren’t quick enough and we’ve got work to do if we want to see our drivers standing on the podium. The race itself was well handled by the Team. There were points where our options were getting limited. We didn’t have the pace to undercut Ocon or Sainz with Lewis, so they all emerged from the first stop in position order. With George, who was in a similar race with one Ferrari and one Alpine, we decided against the undercut and were waiting for rain, a safety car, or a red flag. That came but the transition was tricky. Only half the track was wet, but where it was, it was really damp. We seemed to make the switch at the correct time, but George got caught out with a lock-up during the warm-up phase. Luckily, he continued but our chance of a podium had evaporated. He did a good job to build enough of a gap to the Ferrari of Leclerc that his penalty didn’t affect his position when it was added after the race.”
“We now shift our focus to Barcelona immediately. We’re looking forward to seeing how the car works around a more normal track; we’re expecting to have more work to do but it’s going to be useful to understand where we must focus our efforts. We’re in a good fight for second in the Constructors’ Championship and while that’s not our goal, it looks like we’re going to be able to have some fun racing with Ferrari and Aston Martin as we work on closing that gap to Red Bull.”