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On Track

The Debrief by Aramco: Monaco GP

Hear from Fernando, Lance and Team Principal Mike Krack following a dramatic Monaco Grand Prix, which was affected by a late rain shower, as AMF1 Team equalled its highest finishing position of second.

Monaco GP

On the podium in Monte Carlo.

Fernando secured second in the Monaco Grand Prix in a very tense race on the famous street circuit, while Lance produced some bold overtakes from his difficult starting position.

The rain came towards the end of the 78-lap race, meaning that a race with what was expected to be a straightforward one-stop strategy was turned completely on its head.

Fernando came through to take his best finish of the season, while Lance's day sadly came to an early end.

At the end of a thrilling weekend, Fernando, Lance and Mike share their thoughts of the weekend in Monaco.

Sunday

The Grand Prix

F. AlonsoFL: 1:16.674
P02
L. StrollFL: 1:17.769
DNF

"Starting from the front row and finishing second with Fernando in the Monaco Grand Prix is a tremendous result for the whole team – and a significant marker for how far we've travelled together. This was a difficult race to manage: we fitted Fernando with the Hard compound, hoping to use the strategy to jump Max [Verstappen] later in the race." Mike opens by highlighting the journey that the team has been on in recent years, getting to a point where a podium finish in Monaco is a realistic proposition. He adds that the race as a whole was challenging to manage, with Fernando opting to go opposite on strategy to Verstappen.

"I'm really happy with this result. The race was not easy – and the rain made it difficult for everybody, and very risky strategically. I don't think the extra stop [first Mediums, then Intermediates] affected the result." Fernando is happy to take away a podium finish from the Monaco Grand Prix, and believes that the additional pitstop – which took place as the rain fell harder – did not change the outcome of the race.

"In all honesty, this wasn't a race to remember. The first lap was pretty eventful – a lot of crashing; a lot of carbon-fibre flying everywhere! Those clashes left the car with a fair amount of damage but I was still able to have a go at some of the cars in front. And I pulled off a couple of passes, which was fun." From the middle of the pack, Lance was always at risk of contact on the opening lap. Despite the damage sustained, he was able to have some fun on track pulling off some bold overtakes during the race.

"Then the rain came! Initially, the downpour wasn't too heavy, and we fitted Mediums because an old, worn Hard tyre is incredibly difficult to manage on a wet track. The rain immediately increased, and switching to Intermediates was the logical choice just a lap later. That made no difference to the result – we wouldn't have caught Max anyway. Fernando drove magnificently in treacherous conditions to equal AMF1 Team's best-ever result – bravo." Mike explains Fernando's strategy in detail, and highlights that it did not affect the result at the end of the day – which equals the P2 finish at the 2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

"It's always hard to read the race fully from the cockpit, but on the lap I stopped, the track was completely dry apart from Turns Seven and Eight – so why fit Inters, especially when it felt like a small shower and we had plenty of margin behind us? So it was the right decision, and extra safe: but a minute and a half later it was a completely different situation!" Fernando explains that the call was very tricky to make. Part of the circuit was wet, and part of it dry. With a large gap to the battle over third place, he believes the safe decision was the right one.

"But I was struggling a little to get the car slowed down even before the rain; then when it started raining the brake issues meant I just couldn't stop the car. I think I hit the wall about five times out there, but it just wasn't my day." Lance adds that his race was affected by a worsening brake issue, which ultimately contributed to his retirement.

"Lance struggled with damage after a couple of hits on lap one, but he drove with a good amount of verve, overtook a couple of cars and was battling hard. That was great to see. He correctly judged the switch to Inters but was managing the brakes in the wet and lost his front wing after a tangle with the barriers. Starting 14th, it was always going to be a tricky race for Lance – but he kept his head up throughout." The race was always going to be challenging for Lance from his grid position, as Mike explains, but highlights the perseverance shown during the weekend.

"There was no chance to win today – wet or dry, but we raced aggressively and tried to win it. We were hoping Max would suffer greater degradation on the Mediums, but he did 50 laps at an amazing pace. But we're getting closer – let's not forget that. Now to Spain!" Fernando adds that despite a very aggressive strategy, it was always going to be very difficult to beat Verstappen. But he adds that the top spot is getting closer, as he looks ahead to his home race in Spain next weekend.

"Congratulations to Fernando for an excellent result – I'll be aiming for a points finish at Barcelona next weekend. I'm already looking forward to Spain." Lance pays tribute to his team-mate on his result, and looks to be back in the points-paying places at next weekend's Spanish Grand Prix.

"Now we go to Spain – with the aim of getting both cars in the points once again." The final word of the weekend comes from Mike as the team heads to the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, with the target of a double points finish.

Saturday

#14 Fernando Alonso | Free Practice & Qualifying

FP3
1:13.697
P14
Q1
1:12.886
P09
Q2
1:12.107
P03
Q3
1:11.449
P02

#18 Lance Stroll | Free Practice & Qualifying

FP3
1:12.942
P03
Q1
1:12.722
P05
Q2
1:12.623
P14

"We have to be happy with this result. This year, we've tended to perform better on Sundays – but starting from the first row in Monaco is a really positive achievement. Job done today." Fernando highlights that the significance of today's result – his first front row at Monte Carlo since 2007. The AMR23 has traditionally showcased its strengths on race day, but came very close to pole position in qualifying.

"A frustrating qualifying session – the potential was definitely there: in Q1, I finished fifth and I was feeling good in the car." Lance explains a session which could have ended very positively for him. He was in the top three in the final Free Practice session, and in the mix in the early stages of qualifying.

"This was an intense session for the whole team. Fernando drove superbly; he nailed his final lap and will line up on the front row for tomorrow's Monaco Grand Prix. That's an incredible achievement for the whole team and we can be proud of that." Mike pays tribute to Fernando and the entire team for the result achieved today, with second on the grid for the prestigious event.

"It was a great final run, but when the team told me I was in P1, I already knew there was a chance I'd get bumped to second. I pushed the limits to uncomfortable levels – I risked a lot today. Our pace in the final sector is a bit of a weak spot, so we need to take a look at that for future races." For a moment in the final part of qualifying, Fernando was top of the times. He got as close to the famous barriers as he dared during his final effort.

"Then things went downhill in Q2: I didn't get my tyres prepared properly on my out-lap, then I got caught at the weighbridge, there was traffic, and then I lost a few tenths at Turn 18 on my final run. When the margins are so tight, those things just compound the situation." Lance explains from his side what happened in Q2, where he was a couple of tenths shy of making it into the top 10.

"Lance had the pace to graduate into Q3. But a combination of factors – traffic, debris on the track, a delay at the weighbridge – meant he didn't get a clean Q2. In particular, he ran over a large piece of debris at the exit of Tabac, which damaged his floor and affected grip in the final sector." Lance's issues are explained further by Mike, who highlights that the time loss in the final sector was influenced by damage picked up after hitting debris.

"Tomorrow, I'm aiming to finish the race and take the maximum possible points. If it's a straightforward afternoon, we'll hopefully finish on the podium; any more opportunities and we'll be there to take them." With overtaking very challenging at Monaco, Fernando has the target of a podium finish in the event of an uneventful race. But things can change quickly around the twisty street track.

"Tomorrow is another day, we'll roll the dice with the strategy – either going long or pitting early and undercutting people. Hopefully, a bit of rain will mix things up, let's see." From 14th on the grid, Lance has work to do in the race. But he and the team will work hard to deliver the best possible result. There is also the risk of rain during the race, which can change the dynamic very quickly.

"The aim for tomorrow is to score the maximum points with both drivers." The final words of the day come from Mike. It is all to play for in the Monaco Grand Prix, and the aim is to maximise the result possible with both Fernando and Lance. 78 laps of the Circuit de Monaco awaits.

Friday

Free Practice

FP1F. Alonso
1:13.710
P02
FP1L. Stroll
1:14.653
P09
FP2F. Alonso
1:12.682
P04
FP2L. Stroll
1:13.185
P11

"We completed enough laps today and we were able to get a good understanding of our car here around Monaco. It was important to find a rhythm early this weekend and avoid any issues." Fernando explains the approach to the opening day of running around the principality, and the importance of getting a rhythm in quickly.

"Every lap mattered in practice today: it's such a short lap around Monaco, it's always tricky to pull everything together, but we got some good running in today and we learned a lot." Lance completed 59 laps on Friday, and believes that every lap was key to the remainder of the weekend.

"In both sessions the car felt good and it's easy to drive which helps at this circuit. There are going to be lots of ups and downs for everybody this year, so we have to be ready to deliver every weekend." Fernando felt able to get the best out of the AMR23 in practice on Friday. He adds that the closeness of the field means that different teams showcase their strengths at different circuits.

"The AMR23 is working well around here – it's definitely behaving itself – so tonight we'll focus on tweaking a few, final things. The pack has been tight all year – so getting everything right for qualifying will be essential." With overtaking at its most challenging around this narrow street track, Lance is keen to do what he can to be in the mix for a strong result in qualifying.

"Some race weekends we will be quicker than our rivals and others it might be different, but I'm looking forward to tomorrow's qualifying session." Ahead of a critical qualifying session to determine the outcome of the weekend, Fernando says that he is keen to get going on Saturday.

"We'll keep working on the car tonight and see what we can do tomorrow." Lance closes out by explaining that there are changes still to be made. Nothing can be taken for granted around this historic venue.

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