Friday at the Monaco Grand Prix saw Scuderia Ferrari drivers Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz getting through plenty of work, including assessing all the available tyre compounds, with the main focus being on tomorrow’s qualifying, always the key moment of the weekend in the Principality, given the difficulty in overtaking here.
Carlos was fastest in the first session, while the pair of SF-23s were second and third in the second one. The time gaps were very small and Charles was just a few thousandths quicker than his team-mate, giving a hint at how closely contested qualifying will be.
FP1. In the first session, both drivers went out on the Medium tyres, the only compound used throughout the hour, as they reacquainted themselves with the track and worked on set-up. After changing tyres, they set their quickest times, Carlos in 1’13”372 to top the timesheet and Charles in 1’14”093. Sainz completed 26 laps, Leclerc 24.
FP2. At the start of the second session, the two SF-23s went out on Hard tyres, with Charles completing 14 laps, two more than Carlos. They then both switched to Softs for a qualifying simulation, with Charles posting a time of 1’12”527 and Carlos doing a 1’12”569, but the Spaniard then ended up in the barriers at the second chicane at the swimming pool, which brought out the red flags with around 20 minutes remaining. Charles did 33 laps and Carlos 22. The final free practice starts at 12.30 tomorrow and the team will use the hour to fine-tune the cars for qualifying which starts at 16.00, as well as for Sunday’s race.
It was a bit of a difficult day as the car is not doing exactly what it is supposed to do. So we need to take a good look at the set-up on my car and then work on it to ensure I have the right feeling with it tomorrow. Here it’s all about qualifying, so we didn’t do any race runs, just focusing on preparing for qualifying in the best way possible.
‘In general, I think the day was positive. We were fast in both sessions and the car feels okay on track. There are still a couple of things I want to try tomorrow on the set-up to try and improve, but overall we are quite competitive.
‘Obviously, it was not ideal to finish the session in that way, after a small miscalculation trying to find the limit. Sorry to the team and the mechanics for the extra work.’