Practice session 1: Albon’s Crash Halts Sainz’s Lead in Monaco
In a thrilling yet tumultuous Monaco Grand Prix practice session, Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz dominated while Alex Albon’s crash abruptly curtailed the event, causing quite the spectacle.
Carlos Sainz, a Ferrari Formula 1 driver, led the initial practice session for the Monaco Grand Prix weekend, a session that was cut short due to a crash involving Alex Albon.
Albon lost control of his Williams at Ste Devote and crashed with roughly four minutes remaining, causing a red flag to be raised and signalling an early termination of the session as decided by the race control.
Albon, the Thai driver, assured that he was not injured despite saying that he “banged my knees.” The crash initially damaged the left-rear suspension of his car and subsequently, the front-left suspension was also affected.
Sainz’s position at the top was unchallenged due to the red flag, as he had consistently led the session.
The Ferrari driver led a 1-2 finish in the initial runs with his Ferrari partner, despite being among just three drivers choosing medium tyres over hard ones. He later regained the top position with a timing of 1m13.372s after switching to a new set of medium tyres.
Fernando Alonso, an Aston Martin driver, was his closest competitor, trailing by three-tenths. At one point, Alonso was notably frustrated by the traffic created by Red Bull’s Sergio Perez.
Perez held the lead position for Red Bull, securing only fourth place, a mere 0.003s behind the improved Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton.
Hamilton, the seven-time champion, had a far more seamless experience in the revamped W14 compared to his teammate, George Russell. Russell had difficulties with tyre temperature and reported a “weak rear,” which led to his 15th place finish.
Charles Leclerc missed an opportunity for a late advancement in the Swimming Pool section, resulting in him finishing fifth, just ahead of the current championship leader, Max Verstappen. Verstappen was the final driver to finish within a second of Sainz’s time.
Throughout the session, Verstappen expressed dissatisfaction with his RB19, even ending his first run prematurely due to his belief that the car’s setup was likely to cause a crash. While adjustments made in the pit improved the situation somewhat, Verstappen still described the car’s performance as “really not good.”
Lando Norris drove the special-liveried McLaren to a seventh-place finish.
The session was briefly halted by a first red flag, due to debris on the track shortly after the halfway point. This was a result of Haas driver Nico Hulkenberg clipping the inside wall at the entrance of the Nouvelle Chicane, damaging the wheel rim of his VF-23, which led to a tyre puncture and dislodging.
While Haas didn’t anticipate the damage to be serious enough to conclude Hulkenberg’s session, they ran out of time to get him back on track.
Logan Sargeant, Albon’s teammate from Williams, was the only other driver to encounter a significant issue. The American rookie had just started his second run, shifting from hard to medium tyres, when he reported a “weird sound” and a lack of propulsion, guiding his FW45 back to the pits.
The problem was traced back to an issue with the right-rear wheel. The Williams mechanics had to exert a significant amount of effort to remove the wheel. The stewards took note of the situation, as the team could potentially be charged with sending out a car in an unsafe condition. However, despite the issue, Sargeant managed to complete a double-digit number of laps after the problem was addressed.
POS DRIVER NAT. TEAM TIME 1 Carlos Sainz ESP Scuderia Ferrari 1m13.372s 2 Fernando Alonso ESP Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One Team 1m13.710s 3 Lewis Hamilton GBR Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team 1m14.035s 4 Sergio Perez MEX Oracle Bull Racing 1m14.038s 5 Charles Leclerc MON Scuderia Ferrari 1m14.093s 6 Max Verstappen NED Oracle Red Bull Racing 1m14.224s 7 Lando Norris GBR McLaren F1 Team 1m14.467s 8 Esteban Ocon FRA BWT Alpine F1 Team 1m14.585s 9 Lance Stroll CAN Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One Team 1m14.653s 10 Alex Albon THA Williams Racing 1m14.666s 11 Valtteri Bottas FIN Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake 1m14.718s 12 Kevin Magnussen DEN MoneyGram Haas F1 Team 1m14.725s 13 Yuki Tsunoda JPN Scuderia AlphaTauri 1m14.820s 14 Pierre Gasly FRA BWT Alpine F1 Team 1m14.866s 15 George Russell GBR Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team 1m15.066s 16 Nyck de Vries NED Scuderia AlphaTauri 1m15.083s 17 Oscar Piastri AUS McLaren F1 Team 1m15.192s 18 Logan Sargeant USA Williams Racing 1m15.557s 19 Zhou Guanyu CHN Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake 1m15.684s 20 Nico Hulkenberg GER MoneyGram Haas F1 Team 1m15.785s
Practice session 1 Monaco 2023 F1 gp Practice session 1 Monaco 2023 F1 gp Practice session 1 Monaco 2023 F1 gp Practice session 1 Monaco 2023 F1 gp Practice session 1 Monaco 2023 F1 gp
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26/05/2023 at 14:39
It might be premature to say, but witnessing a Spanish battle for pole position would certainly be a refreshing shift! It seems that this might be the only opportunity for my Ferraris to claim victory this year, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Red Bull lags behind. Even though they tend to be slow in the first practice session, one can always harbor hope.
26/05/2023 at 14:37
A mix of emotions is prevalent among the drivers and fans after the recent race. Some drivers are satisfied with their performance, a few are frustrated with their results or unfortunate incidents, while others, along with a section of fans and experts, are left bewildered by the events.
Carlos Sainz showcased his prowess by registering several fastest laps, not just one – Fernando Alonso too was strong, although his AM car was a tad slower than Ferrari, as anticipated.
Lewis Hamilton’s performance is somewhat uncertain – he seemed to fare well, but it was just a single lap, and his performance in Miami, where they clinched P1/P2 in FP1 only to miss out on Q3, is a potential point of concern.
Both Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen appeared to underperform. Leclerc seemed to overdrive, possibly due to eagerness, while Max faced a decrease in confidence in his car and was unable to complete any clean lap – each of his fast laps had issues at different points.