2023 Monaco Grand Prix – Saturday
THE ROAD TO POLE
- Max Verstappen took pole position for the Monaco Grand Prix, thanks to an extraordinary lap at the end of Q3, achieved by touching the crash barriers twice. The Red Bull driver set pole with a time of 1m11.365s on a fresh set of P Zero Red softs. On the Principality's street circuit, Fernando Alonso shone with a time of 1m11.449s, which will allow him to start from second on the grid tomorrow. Third fastest was local hero Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) in 1m11.471s. Sergio Perez (Red Bull), will instead start from the back of the grid: a trip into the barriers at the first corner put him out of action in Q1.
- FP3 was marked by a Virtual Safety Car caused by Lewis Hamilton heading into the barriers at Mirabeau, which caused the session to end early. The two Red Bulls dominated: Max Verstappen stopped the clock with a 1m12.776s while Sergio Perez set a time of 1m12.849s. Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) set his fastest lap in 1m12.942s. All three used a fresh set of softs.
- Temperatures reached almost 29 degrees today during the final free practice session. The sensors on the asphalt during qualifying instead detected temperatures between 41 and 47°C. Temperatures in qualifying, which took place at 4pm, were essentially stable. Good weather is expected all day tomorrow, with partially cloudy skies during the race. The chances of rain are now reduced to 20%.
- The Pirelli Pole Position Award was presented to Max Verstappen by Maria Sharapova. The former tennis player, now an entrepreneur, has won five Grand Slam tournaments and was for 21 weeks in the first position of the world singles ranking. Maria is one of the few players in tennis history to have completed the Career Grand Slam, i.e. having won all four Grand Slam tournaments (Melbourne, Paris, Wimbledon, and Flushing Meadows).
On a track where overtaking is almost impossible, the fastest strategy for the Grand Prix involves a single stop, as soon as possible throughout the 78 scheduled laps. On paper, the drivers should fit the P Zero Yellow medium on the grid and change them between the twentieth and twenty-fifth laps for the hard P Zero Whites to be the fastest. Another possibility is given by the start on the Soft and then change for hard tyres between laps 15 and 20, with the possibility of doing the reverse too.
MARIO ISOLA - MOTORSPORT DIRECTOR
“We witnessed one of the most spectacular and unpredictable qualifying sessions in the recent history of Formula 1 today in Monte-Carlo, which was closely fought from the first to the last minute. We already saw yesterday that the gaps on this track would be very small, and this was confirmed again this afternoon. In Q1, the top 15 riders were within 0.652s, while in Q2 there was a 0.469s gap between first and 10th. In Q3, we had the top four drivers, with four different teams, separated by 0.188s. Congratulations to all the drivers on track today, who put on a great show at the absolute limit.
From a technical point of view, we confirmed the versatility of the soft compound, which made it possible to do several flying laps with cool-down laps in between. The track evolved significantly throughout the day and during each session, which added even more uncertainty. Usually one of the highlights of the Monaco Grand Prix is Saturday but after today we can't wait to find out what comes next.
We don’t expect many strategic surprises: a single stop is the way to go, with the hard tyre as the main choice. However, which tyre to start the race on is more uncertain: the soft tyre certainly offers more grip at the start, but the medium has a wider window of use, with a better chance to make the most of any safety cars.”
GRACE INFLUENTIAL POSITIVE IMPACT AWARD
The Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team won the first Grace Influential Positive Impact Award: the recognition established by the Princess Grace Foundation to reward the social and environmental sustainability projects carried out by the Formula 1 team. Pirelli, a partner in the initiative, hosted the candidates in their hospitality in the Monte-Carlo paddock. The event was organized in collaboration with Ferrari Trento and dedicated to the celebration of the numerous activities carried out by the championship teams over the past year. The winner was the "Accelerate 25" program, which aims to recruit at least 25% of employees from under-represented groups in Formula 1 among the workforce of the Mercedes team by 2025. The team received a trophy made by the artist Dale Chihuly.
FUNDRAISING FOR EMILIA-ROMAGNA
The Pirelli Pole Position Award that should have been presented to the poleman of the Made in Italy and Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix was auctioned off with other memorabilia to raise funds in support of the Territorial Security and Civil Protection Agency of Emilia-Romagna. The initiative, organized by Formula 1, Pirelli, Ferrari Trento, Automobile Club d'Italia, and Formula Imola with the support of Memento Exclusives, will allow fans to win a reproduction of the tire signed for the occasion by all Formula 1 drivers, on the f1authentics.com website. Offers may also be done for the bottle of Ferrari Trento that should have been opened by the winner of the Grand Prix and the four trophies on the podium.
Founded in 1872, Pirelli is a company with deep Italian roots now recognised all over the world for its cutting-edge technology, capacity for innovation, and the quality of its products. Motorsport has always played an important part in Pirelli’s strategy, following the ‘race to road’ philosophy. The company has been engaged in motorsport for 116 years and today supplies tyres to more than 350 championships on both two and four wheels. Pirelli pays constant attention to the most efficient use of natural resources and energy, aiming to reach carbon neutrality by 2030.
Pirelli has been Global Tyre Partner of the FIA Formula 1 World Championship since 2011. The company also supplies championships including FIA Formula 2, FIA Formula 3, Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine, FIA World Rally Championship and GT World Challenge, alongside numerous national series.