Alpine F1 Team ran a smooth Thursday practice programme today as Formula 1 returned to the streets of Monaco for the first time in two years.
For Esteban and Fernando, though, it’s been three years away from the Principality as they hit the 3.337km course for the first time since 2018.
Their programme today consisted of getting back up to speed and used to the demands of the tricky and twisty, armco-lined circuit.
Both drivers began Free Practice 1 on Hard (C3) tyres. Fernando clipped the wall at the Turn 17/18 complex midway through the session, which caused some damage to the front wing. After nursing his car back to the pit lane no further damage was discovered to the front left suspension on his A521, and he resumed his day on Mediums (C4).
In Free Practice 2 both drivers completed initial laps on Mediums before switching focus to Softs (C5) for the first time of the day. To finish Thursday practice, both cars sampled the car on high fuel, Esteban on Softs, with Fernando on Mediums.
Esteban Ocon, #31, A521-05
Free Practice 1: P16, 1:14.320, 37 laps
Free Practice 2: P14, 1:13.199, 28 laps
Esteban: “Practice day went quite smoothly in terms of doing what we needed to do, which was understanding the car, finding a rhythm and identifying any issues. We didn’t figure out everything, but we’ll go through and analyse that tonight and also tomorrow on the free day. We’ll be working hard to find those tenths we’re missing at the moment. There’s also a little bit more to come from me in terms of pushing the car to the limit. It was nice to see fans around the circuit today and having their support again. It’s definitely feeling like the normality of before, which is good and motivating when we’re in the car.”
Fernando Alonso, #14, A521-06
Free Practice 1: P13, 1:14.205, 37 laps
Free Practice 2: P12, 1:13.175, 27 laps
Fernando: “It was an intense day as it always is on Thursday in Monaco. I think we did a good job with 64 laps in total, building some confidence in the car, which is very useful, so I’m happy with that. There are a lot of things to analyse as we tried some new updates, but we’ll look over it tonight and tomorrow and aim to be strong for qualifying. Traffic management will be difficult, and we saw a snapshot of how tough it is to have a clean lap here in both the morning and afternoon sessions. Managing this well could be key to a good qualifying position on Saturday.”
Davide Brivio, Racing Director: “We completed a lot of laps today and can take a good amount of data from both sessions. We tried some minor updates this morning and adjusted things for FP2 where we saw some small improvements. We need to look through all of our data tonight and tomorrow, to see what we can further improve and do it better ahead of qualifying, which we all know is key around Monaco. It will be even more challenging on Saturday, but it’s the same for everyone, so we’ll focus on putting the cars and drivers in the best shape possible.”
Total Laps: 129 laps (65 for Esteban, 64 for Fernando), 430km.
Equivalent to driving the coastline of Monaco (3.83km) 112 times.
Source: Media Groupe Renault