Formula 1

2024 Monaco Grand Prix: What the Drivers are Saying after Friday Practice

10 Mins read
Photo: Jiri Krenek

It was action packed day of Friday Practice at the 2024 Monaco Grand Prix as the drivers took to the track for the first and geared up ahead of qualifying.

Lewis Hamilton topped the first session, while home town hero Charles Leclerc was the quickest of all in the second. It was another difficult Friday for Oracle Red Bull Racing, with both Max Verstappen and Sergio Pérez coming away unhappy with the RB20. 

Read what all the drivers had to say after a busy day in the F1 paddock.

Charles Leclerc — Scuderia Ferrari — FP1: 5th, FP2: 1st

“All in all, it seems that we have a good car for this track and I felt quite confident with it today. We have to keep that rhythm in place for FP3, because I may have taken a bit more risk today than others did, which paid off in terms of lap times, but the key here is to put it all together in qualifying when everyone starts really pushing the limits.

“All in all, it seems that we have a good car for this track and I felt quite confident with it today. We have to keep that rhythm in place for FP3, because I may have taken a bit more risk today than others did, which paid off in terms of lap times, but the key here is to put it all together in qualifying when everyone starts really pushing the limits.

“We did a good job overall and have to keep focusing on ourselves. It was a great feeling to be back in the car on the streets of my home town and to feel all the support, we will give it everything to have a good one tomorrow.”

Lewis Hamilton — Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team — FP1: 1st, FP2: 2nd

“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.”

Fernando Alonso — Aston Martin Armaco F1 Team — FP1: 6th, FP2: 3rd

“It was good to get some track time today ahead of Qualifying tomorrow. We need to analyse all of our data overnight and let’s see what we can do in Qualifying.”

Max Verstappen — Oracle Red Bull Racing — FP1: 11th, FP2: 4th

“It was pretty difficult but we knew coming into the race this weekend that this might be the case. There was a lot of bounce and temperature changes on track, which also made it tricky. 

“Every time that we went over a bump, the car lost a lot of lap time and on this track one small jump could result in you ending up against the wall. We are looking into a solution ahead of the weekend to sort this out. 

“In general, the issue is a bit more difficult to solve in set up and it won’t be a quick fix but we are going to work on it overnight; we don’t expect miracles but are still looking ahead to tomorrow. 

“Ferrari are also looking quick but I am not thinking about that ahead of tomorrow. Overnight we are going to review the issues that we have and we will hopefully improve the drive of the car ahead of qualifying.”

Lando Norris — McLaren F1 Team — FP1: 4th, FP2: 5th

“First of all, it’s just great to be back, driving around this circuit. It’s so incredible. It’s tough as always, but I think it’s been a reasonable first day. 

“It’s always hard to get in a good rhythm around here but I think we’re in a good place. It’s very close between several teams, with maybe one or two a little further up the road compared to us. 

“We’ve got a bit of work to do, but I think it’s kind-of as expected and we’ll keep pushing hard.”

Carlos Sainz — Scuderia Ferrari — FP1: 10th, FP2: 6th

“It was a challenging Friday for me. I struggled to find consistency in the car and played around quite a bit with the set-up.

“For the last stint of the day, I was happier and the long run was positive. We will focus on carrying that feeling into tomorrow’s practice as we prepare for qualifying.”

Lance Stroll — Aston Martin Armaco F1 Team — FP1: 7th, FP2: 7th

“We got some good laps in during today’s Practice sessions so we’ll spend this evening looking through the data and maximising our learnings.

“I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s Qualifying. Driving around Monaco is always a lot of fun; it’s all about pushing to the limits. It’s always an exciting session, so we’ll see what we can do.”

Sergio Pérez — Oracle Red Bull Racing — FP1: 12th, FP2: 8th

“It is going to be tough this weekend, we are finding it hard to get away from our limitations at the moment. We will see what we are able to come up with tonight, we ran a slightly different set-up on each car and I don’t know what the issues were for Max until we debrief. 

“There are plenty of things to look at, the long run pace seems to be in a better place, but we will have to wait and see how we perform tomorrow. Ferrari look really strong and whenever they need the lap, it has seemed really quick and easy. 

“It is a benefit to them and they aren’t struggling with their tyres either. We have a few items we need to be able to improve overnight and then hopefully it can put us back in the fight and we can be closer to the top.”

Alex Albon — Williams Racing — FP1: 15th, FP2: 9th

“It’s been okay today; we have the same issue as last year with our car struggling to get the front tyres in a good window and when they’re not in a good window, they open up and start graining. 

“The concept of our car tends to lend itself to this kind of circuit with it being an area we’ve been focusing on. The weight isn’t such a big factor around here, so it feels like we’re on a more level playing field. Q2 is a good goal but hopefully, we can be in the higher end of this.”

George Russell — Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team — FP1: 3rd, FP2: 10th

“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.”

Yuki Tsunoda — Visa Cash App RB – FP1: 8th, FP2: 11th

“It was another positive first day for us. Straight from FP1, I felt positive. There are still some little things we can improve on to extract the performance but that’s what practice is for. 

“For example, I think we can improve in general in the braking phase because we had a couple slides there and obviously with this C5 tyre, it’s very sensitive. 

“Other than that, warmup is good and everything is positive, so it’s just finetuning the little things that always count, especially here in Monaco. The general pace is there and I’m looking forward to improving another step tomorrow, maximising it for qualifying.”

Oscar Piastri — McLaren F1 Team — FP1: 2nd, FP2: 12th

“That’s Friday done in Monaco. I’d say it’s been a pretty good day overall. The pace has looked good but it’s very, very tight between a lot of teams today, so it’s difficult to say where we could net out. 

“We’ve got some things to look at and tweak overnight, but I feel like we’re in a good place. It’s going to be an exciting Saturday.”

Kevin Magnussen — Haas F1 Team — FP1: 14th, FP2: 13th

“It’s incredibly tight as always, I say that all the time now, and this race is all about qualifying so it’s really important we get things right tomorrow. There’s a good rear in the car, the big rear wing is important here, but everyone came to Monaco with an extra high downforce wing. 

“You’re just finding lap time all the time; the track is so bumpy and it’s just that much more intimidating driving around here. 

“It requires bravery to really pull everything out of it and I don’t think anyone has done that yet. It’s very easy to go over the limit, and it’s very costly. I’d love a bit more pace of course, but we’ll see what we can do.”

Photo: LAT Images

Esteban Ocon — BWT Alpine F1 Team — FP1: 18th, FP2: 14th

“It’s great to be back in Monaco and driving at this legendary circuit. It’s been an interesting day. In Free Practice 1, the grip was quite tough and it was all about building the speed lap by lap and trying to get as close to the walls as possible in order to improve lap-time. 

“I would say the second session was better for us as we made some good improvements and steps forward. We managed to learn a lot – we still have more to work on – but I would say we’re in a good place at this stage. 

“We will continue the hard work, put it into practice ahead of Qualifying, and aim to be in a good position tomorrow afternoon.”

Nico Hülkenberg — Haas F1 Team — FP1: 16th, FP2: 15th

“It’s quite something – for the first few laps you’re just stunned at how impressive it is – how fast, how dynamic, and how challenging. 

“That’s Friday in the bag, I think it was an okay day, there were no problems on our side. Performance-wise, it didn’t look too great where we slotted in but it’s all fine margins, so we need to squeeze a little bit more out overnight for tomorrow. 

“The picture we have today, we’re a bit away from the top 10 at the moment, but it didn’t feel too bad from a balance point of view. It’s just lacking grip in some areas, so we’ll see what we can do.”

Daniel Ricciardo — Visa Cash App RB – FP1: 9th, FP2: 16th

“I feel good being back here in Monaco, it’s just nice and enjoyable driving an F1 car around this track again. I’m happy with the work we did today, I think that we have some pace in hand, and probably the timesheets didn’t show the full picture, so hopefully putting on some softs tomorrow we can be fighting inside the top 10. 

“I feel like I got myself into a better rhythm towards the end of FP2 and was happy with the last lap I did on the mediums. Considering everything, I think we’re in a good place and now it’s a matter of putting the setup together. 

“I’m really looking forward to tomorrow; I’m excited because the qualifying day in Monaco is probably one of the coolest days of the whole Formula 1 calendar.”

Pierre Gasly — BWT Alpine F1 Team — FP1: 20th, FP2: 17th

“I had a tricky Free Practice 1 due to an issue on the car. We were able to fix it during the session but it still meant that we did not get much running in. 

“Free Practice 2 was mainly about getting a good feel for the car at this circuit and trying to push the limits as much as possible. At times, I probably pushed too much, but I did feel quite comfortable in the car so that’s positive. 

“My run on Softs was a little messy. I did not quite put together all three sectors, so there are definitely things to learn and more to extract. We will continue to work hard in fine tuning everything ahead of the all-important Qualifying tomorrow afternoon.”

Logan Sargeant — Williams Racing — FP1: 17th, FP2: 18th

“There were some good and bad moments today, however FP2 wasn’t very smooth. We have some work to do tonight on the low and high fuel, and whilst it wasn’t the best today, it’s still a pleasure to drive the streets of Monaco. 

“We need to fix the balance and get the tyres in a better window, understanding the variables more to bring it all together. There’s lots to gain out there, so we’ll do some work tonight and see what we can do tomorrow.”

Valtteri Bottas — Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber — FP1: 13th, FP2: 19th

“Today has been a productive day which allowed us to gather important data ahead of tomorrow’s Qualifying, which will be decisive. I always enjoy racing on these streets: it’s definitely good to be home. 

“Our car felt good, and I overall felt quite confident in both sessions, which were dedicated to testing different setups. I reckon today’s positions do not quite reflect our true performance, and we should be more competitive tomorrow. 

“The pack is tight, and given how today felt, I’m positive we can have a proper chance at it for quali. There will be a lot to play for, and we must be at our very best in order to catch any opportunity that may arise.”

Zhou Guanyu — Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber — FP1: 19th, FP2: 20th

“Today’s sessions don’t really reveal our true standing: with an eye to the weather forecast, we opted to use our softs in FP1 rather than FP2. We’re getting things ready, and the car felt better in the afternoon compared to the morning session. 

“I reckon we need to find a few more tenths to be safe, but we’ll find out tomorrow. I had a snap in turn one in FP1 but managed to keep damage to the minimum – that’s Monaco. 

“For the rest of the weekend, it’ll all come down to getting the car in the right window and the tyres to work. I am confident that, if I also find a bit more myself, we can be up there in the mix.”

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